Shake It Off, Alejandro! Barcelona star Balde’s lead in the Golden Boy 2023 awards PLUMMETS after angering Taylor Swift fans by claiming he didn’t like her music… as Jude Bellingham soars past him in the vote
- The Golden Boy Web award is hosted by Italian outfit Tuttosport for public voters
- Both Balde and Bellingham have mounted strong cases as rising star players
- Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast It’s All Kicking Off
A campaign spurred on by Taylor Swift fans seeking to defend their icon has raised Jude Bellingham’s standings in the public vote for the 2023 Golden Boy Web award.
The 12-time Grammy award winner is one of the most popular artists globally and her devoted fans are quick to leap to her defence on social media if necessary – although usually, they aren’t weighing in on footballing matters.
But a viral tweet prompted a social media campaign seemingly led by ‘Swifities’ – the star’s fan army – that looked to put the Real Madrid starlet leaps ahead of one of his rivals in the race for the honour, Barcelona’s Alejandro Balde.
A Real Madrid fan account is thought to have prompted the flurry of votes for Bellingham over the Blaugrana rising star, with a post on Tuesday that drew attention to a particular quote from Balde.
The X (formerly Twitter) user shared a quote given by the 19-year-old in May on his music taste, with the left-back purportedly sharing: ‘Do I like Taylor Swift? No, I don’t like her music’.
Alejandro Balde may have had his hopes of winning the 2023 Golden Boy Web award shattered
A rigourous campaign on social media has pushed Real Madrid’s Jude Bellingham up the ranks
Taylor Swift’s devoted followers turned against Balde when it was revealed he wasn’t a fan of the singer’s music
This was circulated with a caption giving a rallying cry to the singer’s followers: ‘Hey Swifties! We can’t let this Balde guy with the golden boy award. Vote for Jude Bellingham here’.
The Barcelona left-back had maintained a sturdy lead in the Tuttosport voting before the social media stunt, which saw the England international’s vote share climb from 30 per cent to 89 per cent between 5pm and midnight.
The original poster seemed slightly baffled by his own influence on the voting, sharing later that ‘sometimes my own genius is frightening’.
Both Bellingham and Balde have strong claims to the coveted award, which will be presented in November, as they do for the overall Golden Boy award, which is decided by a jury of journalists.
Former Borussia Dortmund starlet Bellingham has had a blistering start to his career with Los Blancos, scoring five goals and registering a further assist in Real Madrid’s opening four matches.
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One Real Madrid issued a possibly tongue-in-cheek rallying cry to ‘Swifties’ that was seized upon at pace
Within hours, Bellingham’s share of the votes jumped and put him into the lead for the honour
The feat saw him named LaLiga Player of the Month in his debut in the competition, with the midfielder seemingly determined to prove his £113million worth at a running start.
Balde has become a valued presence in Xavi Hernandez’s side since his senior team debut in 2021, making 44 appearances across all competitions for the league champions.
Away from the Camp Nou for the first time since since 1957, have enjoyed a similarly strong start to their 2023/24 campaign.
Despite opening the season with a patchy 0-0 draw against Getafe, the Catalan side have since registered wins against Cadiz, Villarreal, and Osasuna.
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