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Why Mbappe's move to Real Madrid may not work out
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Adam Drury
Kylian Mbappe is reportedly joining Real Madrid this summer
Kylian Mbappe is reportedly joining Real Madrid this summer

There is no point denying it, Kylian Mbappe is probably going to score loads of goals for Real Madrid.

Nobody could blame the LaLiga giants for signing arguably the best player in the world for no transfer fee, even if his salary and bonuses will be extravagant.

But there are reasons why the Frenchman's reported next move may not be the dream fit it seems.

Ahead of France's friendly with Germany on Saturday, we put forward the case for Mbappe at the Bernabeu not working out.

Bad timing

A reason for Mbappe's continued dissatisfaction at Paris Saint-Germain was said to be that he was not always the club's undisputed star attraction.

Lining up in a front three with Neymar and Lionel Messi looks nice on paper but resulted in resentment and disjointed performances in reality.

Now, though, Mbappe has outlasted his former illustrious colleagues in the French capital — and also holds considerable sway behind the scenes.

It seems a strange time to leave a club that kneels at his feet for one with global icons Jude Bellingham and Vinicius Junior in their ranks.

Unnatural fit

Not only will Mbappe be battling other potential Ballon d'Or winners for recognition again but he will be doing so from a position he does not even want to play.

The obvious vacancy in Real's squad is the No9 role, completing a front three with Vinicius and Rodrygo.

But the 25-year-old has previously made it clear he wants to operate from the left, preferring to play alongside Olivier Giroud with the France national team than down the middle for PSG.

He said in 2022: "I play differently with France, I have a lot more freedom. There is a No9 I can drift around."

His current club have now recruited Randal Kolo Muani and Goncalo Ramos to do that precise job, while he is signing for a Madrid team where he will surely be forced to lead the line.

Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar struggled to combine for Paris Saint-Germain
Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar struggled to combine for Paris Saint-Germain

Knock-on effect

The front three of Rodrygo, Vinicius and Mbappe looks dangerous — and probably will be — but does mean a departure from Real's route to success this season.

Bellingham plays as a false nine alongside a midfield trio in Carlo Ancelotti's current preferred system, meaning at least one of the front three moves towards the ball to help control the game.

Playing Mbappe up front and the Englishman deeper will mean more pace and directness in attack but less of a numerical advantage to take initiative of the game in possession.

It could see Madrid's displays become even more end-to-end — which, admittedly, is a style of match they would usually win.

Jude Bellingham has played in an advanced role for Real Madrid
Jude Bellingham has played in an advanced role for Real Madrid

No love lost

The idea that Real's new signing will be universally popular in Madrid may also be wide of the mark.

The Madridistas will not have forgotten Mbappe's last-minute rejection of the club in 2022, which resulted in chanted insults about him during that year's Champions League final victory parade.

The melodramatic fanbase is much more inclined to fall for a player who devotes themselves to the club, like Bellingham and other lower-profile talents.

Star performer Gareth Bale for instance was never unanimously loved — and the same fate could await Mbappe, who has already irritated Los Blancos and could do so again should the unedifying news cycle that follows him everywhere continue.


Kylian Mbappe LottinReal MadridParis Saint-GermainFranceLaLigaLigue 1
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