Monaco have made waves in the transfer market with the mega signings of João Moutinho, Rodriguez and the much sought after goal machine that is Radamel Falcao thanks to the money of Russian Billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, but Monaco have a longer standing history to remember.
Dmitry Rybolovlev bought AS Monaco during their spell in Ligue 2 near the end of 2011. While Rybolovlev kept the purse string in relative order during their fight for promotion. At the start of least season Monaco hired the much travelled and well liked Claudio Ranieri as their head coach and with a few signings gave a good account of themselves and in the end finished the season as champions beating Nantes to first place in Ligue 2 by 5 points.
Monaco have a history, and it seems people are willing to forget that and the great players that once played for the club due to the fact that a multi-Billionaire has taken over the club and is splashing his cash about.
Look at how two clubs have gone in different directions since the Champions League Final in 2004. Jose Mourinho’s Porto defended Monaco, managed then by Didier Deschamps, and went on to win seven League titles and the Europa League after that, while Monaco slid down into mid-table obscurity and then relegation into Ligue 2 at the end of the 2010/11 season.
Now I am not saying that if Monaco had won the Champions League in 2004 that none of that would have happened as I can see into alternate universes. But it is fair to say that they could have faired better than they did.
The side that Deschamps had during that spell was not the best the club has had in its history. What Deschamps did for them was something spectacular, but Monaco have had good managers and won trophies in the past too.
While Arsène Wenger was their manager, Monaco won the League in 1988, the Coupe de France twice (1985 & 1991) and reached the Cup Winners’ Cup Final in 1992, losing to Werder Bremen 2-0.
During Wenger’s reign players such as Glenn Hoddle, George Weah, Youri Djorkaeff, Emmanuel Petit and Lillian Thuram wore half and half red and white shirt of Monaco and played some great football. At this time in their history, Monaco were one of the best footballing sides in Europe. Wenger had made a team that played football with his usual flair and attacking football.
Monaco won the league again in 1997, this time under the management of former player Jean Tigana. Tigana had a team that saw Fabien Bartinez in goal, Emmanuel Petit in midfield with Brazilian Sonny Anderson, yeah, remember him, and a young Thierry Henry in attack. Tigana was in charge for four years and in that time saw the emergence of Thierry Henry and David Trezeguet among others. Again Monaco didn’t just win, but also did so with style.
Monaco had always been an important club in Ligue 1, much like PSG. The takeover at PSG and their resurgence has come at a price, but not one you can place a price tag on. People look upon their success’ and possible future success with their noses turned up. It is as if the money invested into the clubs is marred. At the heart of football is the sporting aspect, one team facing another. That is in some ways why people love the underdog. It is as if the underdog deserves it more as they had more heart than the other team. Nowadays football is more than a sport it is a business. But it is a business in a sport. Sporting victories need to come in at some point.
Monaco have their named etched into Ligue 1 history and are not a team that has come out of nowhere. PSG may not have had all that much success in recent history compared to Monaco but they were still a big club and now that Monaco are going to be challenging them off the pitch for players, soon they will be challenging them on the pitch for trophies.
Monaco are well positioned to be an elite club. Monaco, the city, is all about money and success. AS Monaco the football club had become almost a kin to a bastard child but now with Rybolovlev’s billions Monaco can attract the world’s best footballers to play and live in one of the world most beautiful and dynamic cities in the world and the club will be embraced back into the bosom of the elitists’
If I could earn good money and live in a city like Monaco I know I would jump at the chance. That is why, after giving it some thought, I could understand Falcao’s decision to move to Monaco.
I am sure Manchester City, Chelsea or Madrid could have matched what Monaco offered in wages. And they would have given the opportunity to compete for titles, both domestic and European. But, if you were given the choice to live and work in Manchester, Chelsea, Madrid (where you already work and live) or Monaco, honestly where would you choose?
Just look where their stadium is situated. Now that is beauty incarnate right there! defy me and say you wouldn’t rather play there than Stamford Bridge or the Eithad week in week out.
If Monaco continues to buy some of the world’s best players then there is no reason not to think that they can achieve greatness and surpass all that they have done before, and is that what sport is all about. Money is a tool that can get you the best. But that does not mean it will bring you guaranteed success. In football every game counts. Underdogs win trophies and the complacent give away though away point. Managers, coaches and players have to give 100% all the time to reach greatness. The fact that Monaco, the home of financial elite lets not forget, is bank rolled by a Russian Oligarch shouldn’t matter. The only thing that should matter is the results at the end of the 90 minutes and at the end of the season. All the moaning and bitching about “buying the league”, is honestly, just childish envy.
I for one think what is happening at Monaco is best suited to happen at Monaco. It is home to some of the richest, the most influential and beautiful people in the world, where better to have an all star football team.