UEFA Champions League
Kylian Mbappe makes Real Madrid unstoppable — or does he?
UEFA Champions League

Kylian Mbappe makes Real Madrid unstoppable — or does he?

Updated Jun. 3, 2024 3:20 p.m. ET

Real Madrid had cause to celebrate even before Kylian Mbappe's arrival was confirmed on Monday.

Mbappe's move to the Spanish capital was no secret. It was expected for months and this was merely the rubber stamp. Yet it added to the general sense of "vida en grande" (life is great) for Los Blancos.

The news coincided with a parade celebrating the club's 15th Champions League title and 36th La Liga crown, making for quite a scene. Jude Bellingham received roars of approval as he conducted his first full interview in Spanish. Luka Modric's announcement he would remain one more year sparked mass glee and Toni Kroos' farewell was emotional, handing over his iconic No. 8, like a baton, to Federico Valverde.

There was even some sweet sentiment in the police escort for the parade. The father of Dani Carvajal, whose opening goal made all the difference against Borussia Dortmund on Saturday, rode on a horse ahead of the team bus. 


"We are kings of Europe and of the universe," team captain Nacho yelled to fans.

Tears, and cheers, abounded. Inking Mbappe merely added to the sense that this is only the start of even more glory, both domestic and European.

But is it?

Soccer history is littered with what could be taken as cautionary tales that building teams stacked with superstars is a whole lot of fun, but no guarantee of nonstop success.

One largely forgotten example is that of Chelsea in 2006-07. The London club had blazed a trail through the English Premier League in its first two years under Jose Mourinho, then added Europe's best striker in Andriy Shevchenko and its most dominant midfielder in Michael Ballack — only to miss out on the title to Manchester United

Who would you pick to build your team around: Vinicius Junior, Haaland, Mbappe or Kane?

Or you could just look at Madrid itself. The Galacticos blueprint is a little different these days, in that they still try to sign the world's very best players — but they're looking to get them at a younger age. It's working, with Bellingham's spectacular debut season in Spain a perfect example.

Back in the day, Zinedine Zidane was signed at 29, David Beckham at 28 and Luis Figo at 27. 

Beckham, for example, didn't win La Liga until his final season and didn't win the Champions League at all during that time, advancing past the round of 16 just once in four years.

Mbappe is a unique player, absolved of any kind of discussion. While still a teenager he was the driving force behind France's victorious 2018 World Cup campaign and his showing in the 2022 was the greatest individual performance in any final. Eighteen months on, it is wild to think that it ended with him on the losing side. Lionel Messi my have had destiny shining on his shoulder.

The prospect of Mbappe working in cahoots with Vinicius Jr. and Bellingham is mouthwatering. Yet the fact remains that winning championships and Champions League trophies is devilishly difficult, despite Madrid's incredible run of success in the latter.

The blend must be right, the level must be not only excellent but also consistent, and you can be sure that head coach Carlo Ancelotti will spend all summer thinking about how to mesh his treasure trove of talents.

Amid all the partying, it should be remembered that things could and probably should have worked out at least a little differently this season. The La Liga title was beyond reproach, with just one defeat and a 10-point gap to eternal rival Barcelona, which is going through a period of serious turmoil and upheaval.

But the Champions League run would have been forgotten if not for the latest reprieve in the semifinal second leg against Bayern Munich, where Joselu's two-goal rescue act made all the difference.

At 25, Mbappe has years of high performance ahead of him. His former France teammate Hugo Lloris admitted to Fox Sports earlier this year that it can be hard to describe Mbappe's impact at times. "Kylian has his, I don't know, his ‘magic,'" Lloris said.

[Want great stories delivered right to your inbox? Create or log in to your FOX Sports account, follow leagues, teams and players to receive a personalized newsletter daily.]

We all get caught up in the stardom of soccer. Heck, it is one of the most enjoyable things about the game, reveling in the magnificence of its biggest stars and wondering how on earth they manage to do the things they do. Mbappe fits that category better than anyone else.

It is thinking like that which leads us to believe that if an already triumphant team adds an extra piece of brilliance, it is enough to make them unstoppable,

In truth, there is no such thing.

Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports. Follow him on Twitter @MRogersFOX and subscribe to the daily newsletter.


Get more from UEFA Champions League Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more