French Ligue 1
The French League (Formally Ligue 1) is the top football league in France. It was founded in 1932, originally under the name National. The league’s most successful club is Saint-Étienne who has won the trophy 10 times, although the most recent of which was in 1981.
Many of the world’s greatest players have played in the French league before moving on to other European giants. Thierry Henry started his career at AS Monaco, which was then managed by Arsene Wenger. Henry made 105 league appearances for the club. Zinedine Zidane played for Cannes and Girondins de Bordeaux before joining Juventus while Ronaldinho made his name at Paris Saint-Germain before moving to FC Barcelona.
4 French teams have made it to the final of the European Cup and the Champions League. Stade de Reims in 1959, Saint Etienne in 1976, Marseille in 1991 and AS Monaco in 2004. But so far, no French team has won the title.
Olympique Lyonnais (Also known as Lyon) which dominated Ligue 1 in the 2000s, won the league title 7 consecutive times between 2002 and 2008 and firmly established itself as Ligue 1’s top club, ahead of Olympique Marseille and Bordeaux.
More recently, however, there are two new powerhouses in French football. Paris Saint-Germain and AS Monaco have been granted huge budgets by big-money owners which allowed them to invest heavily in world class talents. The signings of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, Edinson Cavani and David Luis have transformed Paris Saint-Germain into a European giant, competing for the UEFA Champions League title and reaching steadily the quarter finals. In the local Ligue 1, PSG is the title holder for the second consecutive time.
AS Monaco’s transition is still ongoing. This year might be a 'financial year' after selling James Rodriguez to Real Madrid and loaning Radamel Falcao to Manchester United. Still, AS Monaco has Dimitar Berbatov and João Moutinho and could be a contender for the higher positions in the league.
Other stand out performers currently playing in Ligue 1 include Saint Etienne’s Loic Perrin, Montpellier’s Remy Cabella and Toulouse’s young, versatile defender, Serge Aurier.
The biggest win in Ligue 1 history was Sochaux’ 12-1 win over Valenciennes in the 1935-36 season.
Goalkeeper Mickaël Landreau has made the most appearances in Ligue 1 history with over 600, and is still currently playing for Bastia. Delio Onnis is the highest goal scorer in the competition’s history with 299 for AS Monaco.
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