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Three ways Real Madrid could line up with Jude Bellingham next season

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Photo by Florencia Tan Jun/Getty Images

Jude Bellingham is a jack of all trades with mastery of nearly every position in midfield.

Having officially completed his long-desired move to Real Madrid, the club now face the privileged problem of choosing the ideal set-up to field with their newly obtained swiss-army knife, especially with so many other options in midfield.

With the English star boy set to play a pivotal role in the upcoming 2023/2024 campaign, here are three ways the Merengues could line up with Bellingham next season.

1. 4-3-1-2

Bellingham scored 14 goals for Borussia Dortmund at the end of the last campaign, and manager Carlo Ancelotti is reportedly in favour of taking advantage of the Englishman’s offensive acumen.

Owing to the absence of a high-profile centre-forward, Real Madrid may have difficulties scoring goals next season. The plan is for Vinicius Jr. and Rodrygo to spearhead the attack in the absence of Karim Benzema, and with Joselu serving as the backup striker.

Bellingham, directly behind the Brazilian pair, as a No. 10, possesses the ability to offer creativity between the lines as well as make late off-ball runs into the opposition box.

The England international can get on the ball to create high up the pitch and even take aim at goal. In 2022/23, he attempted 67 more shots than any other BVB player in the league.

The 4-3-1-2 formation is a far cry from what Los Blancos typically opt for but has the potential to extract the €103 million signing’s most effective attributes.

2. 4-2-3-1

Star Boy (Courtesy: RealMadrid.com)

In addition to thriving in an advanced setting, Bellingham also has the traits needed to execute a prominent role at the base of midfield. Without jeopardizing Vinicius’ impact on the left wing, the 4-2-3-1 enables Ancelotti to use his stacked midfield without hampering the attacking foundations.

Bellingham has garnered experience in a double-pivot set-up. By neutralising opposing assaults before they can even develop, he wields the ability to provide stability at the centre. His 35 interceptions were the second most for Dortmund last season.

Moreover, the double pivot likely gives rise to Eduardo Camavinga playing in a more comfortable environment, a position he has found considerable experience with at the French national team.

Bellingham and Camavinga have the potential to form a great duo in such a context, with Luka Modric as a No. 10. Conversely, the 19-year-old could continue as the attacking midfielder, with someone else playing as the pivot.

4-3-3

Even in Real Madrid’s classic 4-3-3 shape, Bellingham has the required framework to establish himself as a dependable figure in midfield. The formation extracts far more verticality and induces a sense of chaos that Madrid have, over the years, aligned themselves with.

Staying true to their identity while also providing the Englishman with a role he has found comfort in, Bellingham can showcase his abilities as a box-to-box midfielder.

Such a role aids the midfield both in defensive and offensive phases. Quick transitions and intense pressing would be the defining characteristics of Real Madrid’s midfield.

Bellingham’s ability to convert defence into attack with his lung-busting runs with the ball is one of his most resounding qualities. He had the most completed dribbles in the Bundesliga last campaign (88), and his quick feet render him impossible to stop as he evades defenders with silky ball control, coupled with exceptionally quick direction changes.


Bellingham’s versatility allows him to play as part of a double pivot, box-to-box midfielder, and attacking midfielder. A lot of options now lie in Carlo Ancelotti’s hands, and the Italian must find the best combination to unleash Bellingham.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Jagadeesh Garapati

    July 17, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    He has most touches in final third. He has more dribbles. He is good at finishing. Then why not play him as a false 9 or no9.
    We can’t play a 4-4-2 diamond, as we don’t have any strikers. We have wingers who stick to their touch lines. When you use that formation it typically becomes a 4-3-3 false 9.

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MU Shorts

Three Real Madrid players whose roles will change with Mbappe’s arrival

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Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

Kylian Mbappe’s move from PSG to Real Madrid will be the headline of the summer irrespective of what transpires in the weeks to come.

After years of running a long-standing soap opera, the player finally secured his dream move. Now officially announced, Carlo Ancelotti and Co. can begin incorporating the star into their plans for next season.

His arrival, however, will bring with it an inevitable set of changes to the setup that won Real Madrid the Champions League last season.

In the process, several Real Madrid stars will be made to alter their roles and possibly even positions on the field to accommodate the World Cup winner.

Here are three players who will see a complete change in role after Mbappe’s signing. 

Vinicius Jr.

Vinicius will have to juggle his role with Mbappe. (Photo by Rich Storry/Getty Images)

At this point, it is well established that Vinicius Jr. is one of, if not the best left-winger in world football. The Brazilian’s influence on Real Madrid’s results has only amplified exponentially in recent years. He is even the favourite to take home the Ballon d’Or after a stellar last season.

Come August, however, Vinicius will ironically find his own place in the team in jeopardy. Carlo Ancelotti’s plan will indeed be to stick with the Brazilian on the wing and deploy Kylian Mbappe as the number nine for Real Madrid next season.

Given that the Frenchman is best placed on the left, however, it is highly possible that the duo are made to swap roles with regularity.

In short, Vinicius’ position next season will largely depend on Mbappe’s adaptation. Should the new signing struggle to adapt, the Brazilian superstar could be the one to face the brunt.

Jude Bellingham

Bellingham will likely play in a deeper position. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Jude Bellingham enjoyed a stunning first season with Real Madrid, breaking records for fun and establishing himself as an elite superstar.

His role, however, will undoubtedly see a major transformation next season. After all, Carlo Ancelotti is planning a change in formation and the attacking midfield role in the 4-4-2 diamond formation will no longer be his to claim.

Likely back in a 4-3-3, Los Blancos will be well covered in the final third and Bellingham will be forced to take a step back. He will likely join forces with Aurelien Tchouameni and Federico Valverde in the proper midfield and thus play a deeper role for the men in white.

Rodrygo Goes

Rodrygo will have to settle for a place on the right flank. (Photo by Rich Storry/Getty Images)

It is clear at this point that Rodrygo is the worst hit by Mbappe’s arrival for the youngster is now on the edge.

Rodrygo shone brightly playing on the left flank towards the end of the last season. But the Brazilian now has no chance of seeing minutes in his niche given the presence of two superior players ahead of him in the pecking order.

Mbappe’s arrival also means that Rodrygo will have no option but to play as a right-winger, a position in which he has not convinced much in recent times.

To rub salt into his wounds, he will also be forced to take up a more significant defensive role as the other two players in attack will contribute minimally to the press. It thus remains to be seen if the youngster can hold onto his place as a starter or struggle under the pressure. 

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