Category: Ligue 1

The most expensive man in football - but is Gareth Bale enough for Real Madrid to overturn their arch-rivals, in Spain or in Europe? (Image via faniq)

The most expensive man in football – but is Gareth Bale enough for Real Madrid to overturn their arch-rivals, in Spain or in Europe? (Image via faniq)

It has to be said – we are all relieved that the football season is now back in action. A lot of transfers have occurred this summer with a lot of teams willing to spend immense sums, such as Real Madrid and Barcelona (on Gareth Bale and Neymar respectively), and others choosing not to break the bank such as Manchester United.

The Armchair Pundits takes a look at the potential fortunes of the big 3 in Europe and offer predictions of who will be league champions in their respective countries.

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Ben Watson's 90th minute header confirmed the biggest headline in football this week (Image | The Sun)

Ben Watson’s 90th minute header confirmed the biggest headline in football this week (Image | The Sun)

Last week may have seen the first significant news of the football off-season, but it certainly wasn’t the last. Following the retirement of the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson, and David Moyes’ arrival at Old Trafford as his successor, there has been plenty more big news in the past seven days.

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Spellbinding | Ajax’s two mesmerising performances against Manchester City have put Dutch football back on the map after a long spell on the sidelines. (Image | Getty)

This week in Europe may have turned into the week of the comeback for the English quartet, but there can be little doubt, if any lingered, that the Premier League’s finest are no longer Europe’s dominant force.

Remember that spell when there were three English clubs in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League every year between 2008 and 2010?

At this time, footballing knowledge suggested that the continent had been conquered by Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United. Well, can you really see that happening this year?

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Not so super? | This could be a regular match-up should the European Super League ever be seriously considered by the powers that be. (Image | Bleacher Report)

The European Super League. It has been talked about for a long time, but will it ever actually happen? Writing in September 2012 and looking ahead, in two years time a European Super League could be on the agenda.

This is because in 2014 the agreement that is in place between FIFA, UEFA and Europe’s leading clubs expires. As the leader of the European Club AssociationKarl-Heinz Rummenigge points out, said teams will be free to do what they want. However, would they actually look to create a super league?

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Staying on the island | English footballers rarely take up the opportunity to play abroad, and it is an extremely infrequent occurrence in modern football in this country. (Image | Football)

Two decades since the formation of the Premier League and the football landscape in this country has changed dramatically. The Taylor Report brought in all-seater stadia; the advent of television money has resulted in TV rights increasing from £50m in 1992 to £3bn today; the availability of talented Englishmen has dropped precipitously as the league has filled with foreign-born footballers, and home-grown players no longer ply their trade abroad. Why?

There are several ways of approaching this, but the most obvious is money. Players in England benefit from a laissez faire wage structure – indeed structure is arguably too generous a term. Clubs pay players what they want, and the more desirable an individual is, the greater the outlay will be from the side that wishes to retain or purchase them. Wages of £100,000-plus per week are commonplace, creating a safety net for English footballers who are of sufficient ability to be remunerated so generously.

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Montpellier’s first ever league title was secured thanks to a double from John Utaka, on a day where anything but a loss would do. (Image | French Football Weekly)

Montpellier HSC are the new champions of French football after a 2-1 win over relegated AJ Auxerre. The club’s first ever top flight trophy came courtesy of a double from former Portsmouth winger John Utaka, after the Stade de l’Abbé-Deschamps outfit took the lead through Olivier Kapo, another ex-Premier League player plying his trade in Ligue 1.

René Girard’s side became the fifth different club to lift the Ligue 1 trophy since the 2006-2007 season, in what could be taken as both an indication of competitiveness in French football, and a lack of any particularly strong title contender. They were pushed all the way by Paris St. Germain (PSG), however. PSG became one of the richest clubs in the world when the Qatar Investment Authority became their major shareholders in the summer of 2011. A great deal of money was spent, particularly on Javier Pastore, with the intention of making PSG the new “force” in Ligue 1, but after the final day’s action a full three points separated Carlo Ancelotti’s side from the much-craved title.

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