Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti is ever the diplomat at his press conferences, and he did his best to dodge questions regarding two potential incoming transfers in Kylian Mbappe and Antonio Rudiger. The Rudiger transfer is all but confirmed at this point, while Madridistas remain very optimistic that Mbappe’s arrival is also a mere formality.
Though integrating Mbappe into the first team does not come with the same complexities that accommodating Erling Haaland would have, hence why Haaland chose Manchester City, there is still one big question remaining.
Who plays on the left wing, Vinicius Jr. or Kylian Mbappe?
Carlo Ancelotti was asked this very question at the press conference on Wednesday, and while the legendary coach is usually coy, he could not help but give an answer here:
"“Where will Vinicius play if Mbappe arrives? Vinicius feels very comfortable on the left wing. He can improve in the movement without the ball, enjoy his speed to receive behind the line.”"
Vinicius Jr. almost certainly won’t move to the right
At the risk of reading too much into this, it does seem like Ancelotti is maintaining his position that Vinicius will stay on the left side of the formation. As we have seen during his career, Vini on the left is much, much better than Vini on the right. That is where he is comfortable.
Mbappe clearly wants to play on the left side, but we have seen him maintain elite play on the right side of the attack. He won a World Cup in this position, of course, standing out as one of the stars of the tournament.
Now, Ancelotti’s statement says what we know to be true about Vinicius. But look carefully. It does not rule out Mbappe and Vini playing together on the same side, in a way.
We have heard rumors of a 4-4-2, with Mbappe playing up top on the left side of Karim Benzema and Vini Jr. in a left wing role in a 4-4-2.
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Would this be the ideal setup for Real Madrid? I don’t know, but it is very possible Ancelotti will experiment with this formation and other tactical ideas to maximize Vini, Mbappe, and Benzema together.
What I do know is this. We won’t be seeing Vini on the right wing very often.