One style, Two nations: Why Monaco and Real deserve title success
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AS Monaco have wrapped up their first Ligue One title since 2000, with a 2-0 victory over Saint-Etienne at the Stade Louis II. Les Monégasques are clearly deserved winners. They are the first team other than Paris Saint-Germain to win France’s top division since Montpellier’s shock win in 2012. Monaco’s style of play is quite frankly breath-taking. Relentless attacking spearheaded by Radamel Falcao, the Colombian forward having resurrected himself following two fruitless years in the Premier League. 2016-17 saw the return of Le Tigre, who has averaged a goal every 89 minutes. Falcao was of course a member of the 2013-14 squad, when the Principality side was backed by Dmitry Rybolovlev and CEO Vasim Vasilyev. That summer, having won promotion after two years in Ligue Two, the club spent big signing Falcao and other big names such as Ricardo Carvalho, James Rodriguez, Jeremy Tolualan, Joao Moutinho, Geoffrey Kondogbia and Eric Abidal. Crucially, the owners realised the model was unsustainable. Monaco is a small nation, with a population of just over 38,000 (around twice the capacity of their stadium). The club usually average less than 10,000 supporters every season.
In 2014, the owners decided to cutback on spending. James Rodriguez joined Real Madrid having starred for Colombia at the World Cup and Falcao joined Manchester United on loan. In 2015, Monaco engaged in something of a fire sale. First team regulars Aymen Abdennour, Layvin Kurzawa, Anthony Martial, Dimitar Berbatov and Yannick Ferreira Carrasaco joined Kondogbia in leaving the club. Monaco still finished 3rd, but were an unbelievable 31 points behind PSG. Monaco’s transfer policy focused on youth. Young exciting players such as Thomas Lemar, Bernado Silva, Boschilla, Kylian Mbappe (who is being linked with a £100 million move), Fabinho, Tiemoue Bakayoko have been given the opportunity to flourish and flourish they have. The club’s youngsters work hard, are well grounded, and have steamrolled teams throughout the season with relentless attack. PSG’s stars looked off the boil at many points throughout the season, which is amazing giving the club’s resources and the quality of their players.
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Enrique has also had fallouts with the board during his three years in charge and will leave at the end of the season. The Copa del Rey Final against Deportivo Alaves will be his last game. Given that Enrique won the treble in 2014-15, he has been treated very poorly. Florentino Perez was much criticised for his sackings of Carlo Ancelotti and Rafa Benitez, but the appointment of club legend Zinedine Zidane has been a success. The Frenchman, having learnt his trade with the side’s B Team, has smoothly transitioned to the role of first team manager and looks set to win a second Champions League and a first La Liga in addition to the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup in his first 18 months as manager. Image Credit - Instagram. Wikipedia Commons