How Real Madrid could line up with Kylian Mbappe

  • France captain has long desired moved to Real Madrid
  • Mbappe has agreed to join Madrid this summer having departed PSG as free agent
  • Set to line up with stars like Vinicius Junior and Jude Bellingham
Kylian Mbappe's future remains unclear
Kylian Mbappe's future remains unclear / Richard Sellers/Allstar / Contributor / Kristian Skeie - UEFA / Contributor

The Kylian Mbappe transfer saga is finally reaching a conclusion.

After years of speculation over where his future lies, the Frenchman has cut ties with Paris Saint-Germain in favour of pastures new. The bright lights of the Santiago Bernabeu beckon, with Mbappe's move to Real Madrid as good as official.

The La Liga giants and Champions League holders have had plenty of time to prepare for his arrival in the Spanish capital and will have no trouble finding a suitable role for him in a starting lineup that's already bursting with talent.

Let's take a look at how Real Madrid could line up with Kylian Mbappe in their team.

Left-winger in 4-3-3

Kylian Mbappe
Mbappe has primarily been used in a central position / Ian MacNicol/GettyImages

While Mbappe has often lined up down the left flank throughout his senior career, he is not a wide man who likes to hug the touchline and isolate defenders one-v-one.

Instead, Mbappe loves to operate in an inside left position, much like Thierry Henry. From this zone, the Frenchman can drop into deeper areas to receive possession and make unstoppable darting runs in behind defences.

However, the presence of Vinicius Jr at Real Madrid, who has developed into a superstar in his own right, will make it difficult for Mbappe to be gifted the freedom of the left side. If the World Cup winner is going to operate out wide, it would force Carlo Ancelotti to field Vinicius Jr through the centre.

That's something that the Real boss has done frequently this season, although Vinicius Jr hasn't featured as a lone striker, instead working as part of a front two with a number ten in support.

It's inconceivable that Mbappe and Vinicius Jr won't feature in the starting lineup together, with Mbappe's arrival perhaps resulting in a position change for the Brazil international.

Potential lineups

Mbappe - Vinicius Jr - Rodrygo

Mbappe - Vinicius Jr - Brahim Diaz

Mbappe - Rodrygo - Valverde

Number nine

Rodrygo, Vinicius Junior
Vinicius Jr and Rodygo have featured as strikers this season / Flor Tan Jun/GettyImages

Despite his efficacy in central positions, Mbappe doesn't want to be a number nine. Given his status as arguably the world's best, the Frenchman wants to get on the ball as much as possible and operate in a manner similar to Lionel Messi and Neymar - to create and finish.

However, that wouldn't be the best utilisation of his current skill set.

Therefore, deploying Mbappe up top would certainly be a viable option and it would allow Ancelotti to retain the 4-3-3 while having both Mbappe and Vinicius in the frontline. With Vinicius functioning as a destructive outlet down the left, Ancelotti could give Mbappe the freedom to operate how he pleases in a central role.

While the Frenchman is an exceptional outlet and almost impossible to stop once he gains a yard, the forward could also be gifted the license to function in a similar vein to Karim Benzema and become more of a facilitator.

Potential lineups

Vinicius Jr - Mbappe - Rodrygo

Vinicius Jr - Mbappe - Valverde

Rodrygo - Mbappe - Brahim Diaz

Strike partnership

Jude Bellingham
Bellingham has made the number ten role his own / Mateo Villalba/GettyImages

Benzema's exit last summer has led to a shift in formation for Real Madrid. Master pragmatist Ancelotti has drifted away from the 4-3-3 in favour of a diamond midfield and two up top.

When Mbappe rocks up in Madrid this summer, the 4-3-1-2 will either be ditched or emboldened. If it's the latter, the 25-year-old will likely operate in the front two, but there's no doubt he'd want to function in the number ten role. However, this will surely have too many defensive responsibilities for the Frenchman to consider.

Jude Bellingham has already stolen that creative midfield position with consistently dazzling performances and the Englishman could be serving Mbappe and Vinicius in attack. Just imagine those two as split strikers.

The attacker could also start alongside the more creative Rodrygo, or Real could enter the market for a more orthodox number nine to help up top.

Potential lineups

Mbappe - Vinicius Jr

Mbappe - Rodrygo

Mbappe - Brahim Diaz