15.06.2024 18:43 h

Serbia coach sees 'unbelievable' Bellingham as a future Ballon d'Or

Serbia coach Dragan Stojkovic believes stopping Jude Bellingham is the key to his side shocking England in their Euro 2024 opener on Sunday.

Bellingham has shone during his first season at Real Madrid, helping the Spanish giants to a La Liga and Champions League double.

At just 20, he could be in line to win the Ballon d'Or should England end their 58-year major tournament title drought in Germany.

Stojkovic is confident Bellingham will one day be crowned the world's best player, but is hoping his Euros does not get off to a glorious start.

"He's a future golden ball I think. It is impressive what he shows in a Real Madrid jersey - he's very young but so powerful.

"We can't give him too much space or free time to penetrate in the space in front of him. He's a very important player for the English team definitely.

"It's very impressive, unbelievable, how he performs for such a very young guy.

"Good for England and bad for us but we will do our best to control this type of situations."

The clash in Gelsenkirchen has been declared high risk by the police due to fears Serbian ultras could clash with the tens of thousands of England fans that have made the trip to north-west Germany.

As a result, fans will only be able to buy reduced-strength beer inside the stadium.

Stojkovic, though, played down fears the game could be marred by hooliganism.

"I'm sure tomorrow's game will be an opportunity for everyone to enjoy the game, both English fans and Serbian fans," he added.

"Football is something special for people to enjoy and I'm sure both sides will be very happy to be at the stadium tomorrow."