Joining at 26 and in the prime of his career, one of the best players on the planet joins possibly the finest team in the world. Integrating him into the side could be easier said than done.

Having long been Real Madrid's top transfer target, Kylian Mbappé finally made the move to the Spanish giants.

Arriving as a free agent after agreeing a five-year deal that includes a whopping €150m signing-on fee, the French phenom cut a delighted figure when speaking on the move. “It's a big relief. I'm very happy, I think you can see it in my face," Mbappe said.

"It's a huge pleasure, a dream come true. I'm very happy, liberated, and relieved and very proud to go to this big club - the best in the world."

Joining at 26 and in the prime of his career, watching how he fares will be unmissable, with him eager to continue his remarkable upward trajectory in the Spanish capital. While it makes sense on the surface, as arguably the best player on the planet joins possibly the finest team in the world, integrating him into the side could be easier said than done.

Enter Carlo Ancelotti, who's no stranger to such dilemmas of fitting superstars into his teams and ensuring they excel.

Fresh from ending another hugely successful season, where he steered his team to Champions League and La Liga glory, the challenge for the Real Madrid boss will be figuring out the best way to incorporate Mbappe into his outrageously talented team.

Mbappé goals and assists last season - from Wyscout Player Report

With the former Paris Saint-Germain ace, who left as their all-time top scorer with 255 goals and six Ligue 1 titles, set to demand a starting berth, all eyes will be on how Ancelotti goes about maximizing Mbappe's strengths within the team structure.

Boasting a plethora of attacking quality in the form of Vinicius Junior, Jude Bellingham, Rodrygo, and fellow new signing Endrick, it won't be a straightforward task to keep all the heavy hitters happy while finding the ideal formula for success.

"The problem is for the coach. Obviously the team has won everything this season, and with his arrival, they will surely dominate more. If everything is in order and harmony, they're going to dominate more," Radamel Falcao, who was a former teammate of Mbappe at AS Monaco, explained.

Most comfortable playing wide or centrally as a striker, it'll be fascinating to see how Ancelotti, who has proven himself to be an astute tactician and man-manager, approaches where to deploy the World Cup winner.

Image 2 - Mbappé's heat map from last season

As covered in our recent analysis article on Real Madrid, given the Italian manager sets up his side in a fluid 4-3-3/4-1-2-1-2/4-4-2 diamond, where their flexible structure, smart spatial occupation and how shrewdly the players dovetail were keys to their dominance, the addition of Mbappé could mean some tweaks.

Seeing as Vinicius and Rodrygo had plentiful freedom and regularly operated as split strikers while Bellingham often played as a false 9, the inclusion of Mbappé gives them the option to use him in this type of role or as a proper central striker. Bringing so much to the table with his scintillating speed, masterful timing and directing of his runs and how he attracts multiple markers, he'd be an asset if deployed in either post.

Mbappé shot dashboard - from Wyscout Player Report

So good at stretching backlines horizontally and vertically, this could subsequently allow the Brazilian maestros in Vinicius and Rodrygo to be played as more dedicated wingers. This would then require a slight change in shape and see Bellingham and Federico Valverde (often played wide) be deployed in true central midfield roles.

Alternatively, Bellingham could keep his role at the tip of the diamond, which would see Mbappé take the place of Rodrygo, which would work but might not be the optimum way to utilize him.

Using him down the middle, as opposed to on the left flank, would have the added bonus of letting Vinicius stay in his preferred position too - even if Mbappé loves life on the left as well and is a frightening proposition for any backline 1v1, where he uses his speed, skill, nous and strength exceptionally to unbalance and punish adversaries.

Ball progression and dribbles data - from Wyscout Player Report

With Ancelotti so adept at adapting his philosophy depending on the opposition, there's no doubt this will play into Mbappé's hands, for he'll in all likelihood spend time in both roles and rotate during games to elevate his menace to keep defenders guessing.

Moreover, this should hold him in good stead to be granted many opportunities to destroy teams on the counterattack, something Real Madrid have been extremely proficient at, especially in the big games.

Penalty area deliveries by Mbappé

Indeed, this type of variety and unpredictability will not only serve Mbappe well but the whole team, who are wizards at creating and exploiting space all over the attacking half.

The threat of Mbappé also extends to how he pins and draws markers, which crucially generates room for others to explore, meaning he's still a nuisance when not directly involved. Considering the fluent nature of Los Merengues going forward, and this will duly accentuate his danger, allowing him to relentlessly alter reference points to ensure rearguards struggle to settle into a pattern of how best to stop him.

Boasting crafty instincts to get free inside the box and a superb finisher to match, expect him to transfer this aspect of his armory seamlessly to his new team, where his spatial awareness, in combination with the quality service he’ll get from his classy teammates, should mean he's rewarded for all his nifty work.

Mbappé touches inside the box from Wyscout Player Report

The graphic below illustrating his penalty-taking prowess dating back to 2015 further underlines his value, for he’s proven very reliable from the spot and handles the pressure superbly to rise to the occasion more often than not.

Mbappé penalties taken map since 2015

A player who's happy to be relieved of some of his defensive duties, it'll be assumed his shortcomings here will be balanced out by Ancelotti, who's familiar with finding structural security to allow his stars the freedom to shine.

While there will be a need for some accommodating by Carlo to fit him in, there's no doubt Ancelotti's the perfect manager to ensure he thrives in his new surroundings.

“Kylian is an impressive player,” said former Italy star and World Cup winner Alessandro Del Piero to “Every time we think he's shown us everything, he manages to come up with something new. And that's because he's a great champion and has already won so much.”

“He's very young, and he still has so many things to achieve or achieve again. I wish him the best because it's fantastic to watch him play. The power, the elegance, the agility, the technical ability.”

A real game-changer and difference-maker, the stage is set for Mbappé to take La Liga by storm within his new manager's framework no matter where he's deployed, as he's primed to be just the offensive weapon they need to propel them into an even greater force to be reckoned with.

Which is a scary proposition indeed for their opponents and a tantalising one for their supporters, as Ancelotti's unquestionably the ideal manager to ensure the Mbappé conundrum is handled with aplomb.

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