Mbappe, Vinicius, Bellingham to form Madrid's dream attacking trio

football03 June 2024 18:05| © AFP
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Vinicius Junior and Jude Bellingham © Gallo Images

Kylian Mbappe has finally signed for Real Madrid but fans must wait a few more weeks before a thrilling link-up with Vinicius Junior and Jude Bellingham becomes a reality.

The French forward will lead one of the most potent forward lines in world football after he arrives from Paris Saint-Germain at the end of his contract, a heady blend of skill, speed and dynamism.

A lethal trio of such unequivocal quality brings to mind the new European and Spanish champions' glittering era with Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema causing havoc.

That vaunted 'BBC' trident inspired Madrid to multiple Champions League triumphs over the past decade, including three in a row between 2016 and 2018.

Mbappe idolised Ronaldo as a child and now has the chance to emulate the Portuguese forward, Madrid's all-time top goalscorer, in the Spanish capital.

In 2017 Mbappe turned down a potential move to Madrid from Monaco, in part because of the strength of the trio of attackers who seemed impossible to dislodge.

Now Mbappe, who played alongside ageing former Barcelona attackers Lionel Messi and Neymar in Paris, will be the elder statesman at only 25.

Worryingly for the rest of Europe, the trio are only improving, with Bellingham and Vinicius 20 and 23 years old respectively, leading Madrid to LaLiga and Champions League glory this season.

Mbappe and Vinicius could lead the line with Bellingham supporting in an attacking midfield role.

Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti unlocked Bellingham's goalscoring prowess by deploying him as part of the attack and with playmates Mbappe and Vinicius attracting markers and creating space, it could even increase.

England international Bellingham could also play further back in central midfield, where he was typically deployed before arriving at Madrid. It would allow silky winger Rodrygo to join the attack on the right of a wider front three.

Ancelotti has helped Vinicius to develop from a promising but highly inconsistent winger into an elite forward who can break down any defence.

The Brazilian flexed his muscles by scoring a hat-trick against Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup final in January, and netted in the Champions League final win over Dortmund.

Vinicius would also likely benefit with Mbappe beside him as opposition defences would no longer view him as the one key threat to be shackled by any means necessary.


Mbappe's arrival will also lay the next stone in a period of renewal for the club as a whole.

President Florentino Perez lavished nearly 900 million euros ($970 million) on renovations to the Santiago Bernabeu stadium, which will finally finish in the summer.

Madrid are also still pushing for a breakaway European Super League project but unlike ailing Barcelona, their partners-in-crime, they have the team to actually compete in one.

The club's veteran players are being phased out as new, hungry and extremely talented youngsters fill up the squad.

While Barcelona have not found convincing replacements for departed greats Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets, among others, Madrid have most of their homework done in advance.

The players who will take Luka Modric and the retiring Toni Kroos' places are already at the club.

Madrid have Eduardo Camavinga, Federico Valverde and Aurelien Tchouameni in midfield, all 25 years old or under.

Having so many leading talents harks back to Madrid's Galactico era in the 2000s, except these stars have their best years ahead of them.

By contrast Luis Figo arrived at 27, David Beckham at 28 and Zinedine Zidane at 29.

Rodrygo, Brahim Diaz and Arda Guler are further youthful options up front for Ancelotti, with Madrid's squad the best in Spain.

One of the few doubts around Mbappe's arrival is about potential ego battles in the dressing room, and there is no better coach than the avuncular Italian to manage star names, as demonstrated during his two stints at the club.

Another is that both Vinicius and Mbappe prefer starting off the left, although this season the Brazilian has found his footing down the middle.

If he and Mbappe click as Madrid hope, their fluid movement and connection will make light of any positional concerns – and any defence that crosses their path.