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Guardiola hails ‘exceptional’ Bellingham after Man City complete Dortmund comeback

Pep Guardiola described Jude Bellingham as “exceptional” after the England international gave an impressive performance in Borussia Dortmund’s 2-1 defeat at Manchester City.

City were staring at a shock Champions League defeat when Bellingham met Marco Reus’ left-wing delivery to nod the Bundesliga outfit ahead in the second half on Wednesday.

But John Stones’ long-range strike beat Alexander Meyer in bizarre fashion with 10 minutes left, and Erling Haaland had the last word against his former club when he produced a terrific acrobatic winner.

Speaking after seeing his City team maintain their perfect start to the Champions League campaign, Guardiola singled out Dortmund’s teenage midfielder for praise.

“I was impressed two seasons ago when he was 17. Now he’s 19… he was good at 17, imagine now at 19,” Guardiola said.

“He’s able to follow [Ilkay] Gundogan, Kevin [De Bruyne], win the duels, transitions are fast, to have the sense in the box for the goal he scored.

“So yes, an exceptional player. I think everybody knows it, not because the manager of Manchester City says it, everybody knows it.”

Bellingham has now scored four Champions League goals – the most ever managed by an English teenager in the competition. Meanwhile, his 18 appearances in Europe’s premier club competition is a record among English players under the age of 20.

Half of the midfielder’s Champions League goals have now come against City, after he opened the scoring in the second leg of the club’s quarter-final defeat to Guardiola’s men in 2020-21.

Dortmund coach Edin Terzic was also keen to highlight the quality of his performance, saying: “Jude, like all the other players, gave a great performance in offensive and defensive terms.

“He blocked so any passes and crosses and also got forward… once again, he was very good against Manchester City.”