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AS Monaco: A Sleeping Football Giant?

While the mighty Paris Saint-Germain close in on yet another domestic title, the remainder of teams in Ligue 1 are simply battling for the European slots. As the teams broke for the 2022 World Cup, one of the biggest clubs in the country were quietly sitting in sixth place.

Fans of AS Monaco have experienced a rollercoaster ride in recent years. Are they merely a sleeping giant ready to be disturbed, or will that slumber be prolonged for a few more seasons?

A Proud History

Founded in 1924, AS Monaco are approaching their centenary with eight top flight French titles behind them. The team has also been runners up in Ligue 1 on seven occasions, while they’ve claimed the Coupe de France five times.

They were Ligue 1 Champions as recently as 2016/17 but, since then, Monaco have taken a back seat while PSG have dominated. Paris Saint-Germain have won the French top flight title in no fewer than eight seasons from 2012/13 to 2021/22.

It seems almost certain that PSG will lift the title again this term. Head Coach Christophe Galtier and his team are clear favourites in current sports betting markets, while Monaco are among several clubs aiming for the Champions League places.

AS Monaco’s Finest

AS Monaco enjoy a reputation for producing some of the finest talent in French football. More recently, they’ve also employed a host of talented overseas players. The list of Monaco legends includes all-time French greats such as Thierry Henry, Lilian Thuram, Youri Djorkaeff, Cesc Fabregas and Manuel Amoros.

It’s also worth remembering that Kylian Mbappe made his name here. The winner of the Golden Boot at the 2022 World Cup played for two years at AS Monaco before joining PSG on an initial loan deal in 2018.

A long list of top overseas talent has included Glenn Hoddle, Fabinho, Dimitar Berbatov, Mark Hateley and Bernardo Silva. It’s an impressive Hall of Fame, although many of those names enjoyed more productive careers after they’d left the Stade Louis II.

Golden Years

From the 1980s to the end of the century, AS Monaco were the team to watch in French football. While they didn’t exactly dominate in the way that PSG have in the present day, this was their most productive period in terms of trophies.

Monaco won four of their eight Ligue 1 titles between 1981 and 2000. Three Coupe de France trophies were added between 1980 and 1991, while the team agonisingly lost out in the 1991/92 edition of the European Cup Winners Cup.

Having made it through to the final, Monaco had to settle for the runners up slot after losing 2-0 to outsiders Werder Bremen.

Arsene Wenger was in charge of the team from 1987 to 1994. The coach would subsequently enjoy a more productive career at Arsenal, but not before he helped the French side to claim two major trophies.

Darker Days

AS Monaco reached the Champions League final in 2004, but some desperate days were around the corner. A mass exodus of players marked Jerome de Bontin’s reign as President which began in 2008. The replacements were simply not good enough and the club were relegated to Ligue 2 at the end of 2010/11.

Fortunes were revived from December 2011 when Dmitry Rybolovlev acquired a major shareholding. The billionaire plunged significant revenue into the club and Monaco went on to win the Ligue 2 title in 2012/13.

The squad continued to build and, at the end of 2016/17, they won their most recent Ligue 1 title to date. This was a brilliant Monaco team led by coach Leonardo Jardim. Included in the side were some star names including Kylian Mbappe, Radamel Falcao, Benjamin Mendy and Bernardo Silva.

AS Monaco supporters love their sides to entertain and are patiently waiting for their ninth title. It’s going to be tough but at least those dark days of relegation seem to be firmly behind them.

Looking to the Future

When we look back at AS Monaco’s past, a pattern seems to emerge. The team has a tendency to secure major silverware before the squad breaks up and key players move on. We saw that as recently as 2016/17. After claiming the Ligue 1 title, M’bappe switched to PSG while Mendy and Silva both joined Manchester City.

Monaco then have to rebuild and that’s what’s happening now. There is definite quality in the current squad and they can challenge for the big trophies in the near future. Captain Wissam Ben Yedder is the key. He’s been one of the most prolific French strikers in recent years and he has a strong scoring record for his current club.

Elsewhere, there are some exceptional young players. If they go on to challenge for the Ligue 1 title, AS Monaco must then work hard to keep that squad together.

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