Kylian Mbappe's arrival at Real Madrid will spark a scrap

Kylian Mbappe’s arrival at Real Madrid will spark a scrap between Gareth Bale, Vinicius and Eden Hazard for the final spot in their front three… and the latter could later lose the prized No 7 shirt to him too

  • Nature of Kylian Mbappe’s debut for Real Madrid depends on when it happens
  • Also the same applies to how the French forward fits into Carlo Ancelotti’s team   
  • Karim Benzema will keep his place in the Real frontline if Mbappe arrives 
  • Eden Hazard, Gareth Bale and Vinicius Jr will fight for final place in front three

Will he be wearing the No 19 shirt in front of 40,000 fans at a half-finished Bernabeu on September 11? Or wearing Cristiano Ronaldo’s old No 7 shirt in front of a full house in a nearly completed stadium next summer and maybe as not the only big name signing? 

The nature of Kylian Mbappe’s debut for Real Madrid depends very much on when it happens and the same applies to how he fits into Carlo Ancelotti’s team.

If he comes now then he will slot in on the left of the front three running inside on to his right foot (or running wherever he likes because he’s Mbappe and he’ll probably tear up most LaLiga defences) and frequently switching positions with centre-forward Karim Benzema.

Carlo Ancelotti (right) could have Kylian Mbappe (left) at his disposal this season or next

Karim Benzema will keep his place in the Real frontline if Mbappe arrives at the Bernabeu

That will leave Eden Hazard, Gareth Bale and Vinicius Jr all scrapping over the last place in the attacking trio. 

Hazard is the obvious choice to play in terms of what he cost and the fact that he is still a relatively recent signing. 

But after another insipid display at the weekend when he was taken off for Vinicius, who then scored twice, he won’t automatically inherit the third starting berth.

Coming off the right onto his left foot suits Bale better and he’s started the season in better form than the Belgian. 

Vinicius prefers to play on the left from where he destroyed Levante’s defence last weekend but Ancelotti wants to convince him that with his blistering pace getting him in front of players he ought to be able to play on both sides.

Ancelotti will relish working out how best to sort the problem. Next season, if he is still the coach, there could be a whole new set of decisions to be made.

But Eden Hazard (left) and Vinicius Jr (right) could find their places in the side under threat

There will be time to build the team around Mbappe. Bale will have played out the final year of his contract and he will be gone – that’s a big chunk off Madrid’s wage bill. 

They will have saved themselves £137m by not buying Mbappe with a transfer fee. And they will have had the revenue of a season with fans back inside the Bernabeu so they may look to buy a third man for their front three and a midfielder. 

If Hazard’s third campaign turns out to be no better than his first two then he will be moved on, freeing the No 7 up for Mbappe. 

It was his number at PSG and it was the number Ronaldo – whose poster adorned Mbappe’s wall as a kid – wore when he played at the Bernabeu. If he signs now number options are limited but Alvaro Odriozola is moving to Fiorentina leaving 19 free.

If Mbappe joins next year, Bale will have played out the final year of his deal and he will be gone

Seven was Raul’s number before Ronaldo so it would make sense for him to inherit it as the club’s most important player, unless Hazard does enough this campaign to earn the right to keep it.

If Mbappe does not arrive until next summer then this season will be an eight-month audition for Vinicius and Hazard to see who stays in the side alongside him. And if neither pass then Madrid will turn to the market.

New signings might also be needed in midfield to give the side a solid base from which to exploit the new Mbappe-led forward line.

They are already looking at Leon Goretzka, whose contract runs out at Bayern next summer. Paul Pogba will be back on the agenda albeit it with all the old caveats about the wages he will demand, the commission involved in his arrival and whether he can really leave United.

What is certain is that when Mbappe arrives he will demand the team wins and with Toni Kroos and Luka Modric edging closer to the end of their careers in midfield, Bale gone, Hazard yet to prove himself, and Vinicius still an unknown quantity in terms of how good he will become, the signings will not stop at Mbappe.

New midfielders might also be needed next summer – Paul Pogba will be back on agenda


Real Madrid with Mbappe now



Carvajal, Militao, Alaba, Mendy

Modric/Kroos, Casemiro, Valverde

Bale/Hazard/Vincius, Benzema, Mbappe


With Mbappe next summer:



Carvajal, Militao, Alaba, Mendy

Pogba/Goretzka, Casemiro, Valverde

Hazard/Vinicius/new signing, Benzema, Mbappe



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