Jude Bellingham
Jude Bellingham scored twice against Girona as Real Madrid extended their lead at the top of the La Liga table on Saturday. AFP / JAVIER SORIANO

Real Madrid CF has finally been able to put some breathing room between themselves and Girona FC at the top of the La Liga table. Los Blancos won their crucial encounter 4-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on Saturday, putting themselves five points ahead of their unexpected title rivals this season.

Jude Bellingham lived up to expectations and scored twice before going off injured in the 57th minute. However, apart from Bellingham, Vinicius Junior was another standout of the evening. He was involved in all four Real Madrid goals, and gave his team the early lead with a rocket strike after just six minutes.

Then, it was the Brazilian again who made a long-range pass to find Bellingham, who charged fast to beat the defenders and meet the ball. He calmly beat the keeper to double the lead before half-time.

Then, the Englishman was on point once more after the break, scoring his second goal of the night and 20th of the season. The goal started off with an attempt from Vinicius, who charged through the left and weaved past two Girona defenders before taking a shot. Girona keeper Gazzaniga managed to palm it away, but only as far as Bellingham's path. He then took advantage of the opportunity to put the hosts 3-0 ahead.

At this point, the Girona players were looking visibly defeated. Yan Couto was practically in tears as he continuously failed to stop Vinicius. Then, Rodrygo decided to rub salt in the visitors' wounds by scoring an absolute scorcher of a goal. It was Vinicius again who won the ball from Couto, passing it over to his fellow Brazilian.

Rodrygo showed full confidence as he launched his shot as soon as he entered the box. Girona knew at this point that their title hopes are in real jeopardy, especially after youngster Arda Guler won a penalty for Real Madrid in the closing minutes of the game. Joselu botched the attempt by hitting the post, but it would have been a moot point to score another goal.

There were some doubts early in the season if Bellingham and Vinicius will be able to work well together, with both players having dominant personalities. It did not help that Vinicius was sidelined for several months during the first half of the campaign, preventing manager Carlo Ancelotti from seeing how well the could gel together.

However, after both players managed to get back to full fitness after the winter break, it has become clear that a new attacking partnership has been born, and opponents should start trembling. The Jude-Vini tie up has been dubbed by the team as "Bellicius".

With Rodrygo also available to work his magic and their actual striker Joselu also at the manager's disposal, then it seems almost hard to notice that they are missing their entire centre-back roster due to various injuries.

Bellingham has been on fire since his arrival at the Santiago Bernabeu, and has now scored more in a single campaign than any other midfielder for Real Madrid since the turn of the century. To think, we are only just over the halfway mark.

However, Real Madrid fans will be worried after the Englishman was forced off early with an ankle injury. The most crucial part of the season has begun, and they will want to have Bellingham fit and available for the home stretch.

Apart from La Liga, they are still in contention for the ever-important UEFA Champions League trophy. The 20-year-old picked up the knock after a collision with Pablo Torre, but he was able to return after receiving some treatment. However, after scoring his second goal, it became clear that he could not continue and Brahim Diaz was brought in as a substitute.

For now, it is presumed that he suffered a sprain on his ankle, and it remains unclear if he will be able to recover in time for the first leg of their round-of-16 Champions League clash against RB Leipzig.