Did you know four players in France’s World Cup 2018 winning squad made their names at Monaco having upset the mighty PSG to take the Ligue 1 title in the season before?
Well, it’s true. Les Bleus are indebted to the Principality club and its erstwhile manager Leonardo Jardim, who was sacked following a poor start to this season.
A victim of his own success, the French Riviera side adopted a develop-and-sell approach to running the club under Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev that has worked almost too well.
While Jardim no longer picks the team at the Stade Louis II, now is the perfect time to highlight the French stars he helped en route to global glory in Russia this past summer.
Paul Pogba may be the poster boy of football in France, but there’s no doubting who their most exciting talent is. Teenage forward Mbappe slammed in 15 goals for Monaco, and scored 26 in all competitions, in their victorious Ligue 1 campaign of 2016-17.
PSG saw his massive potential and thought if we can’t beat them, then why not get Mbappe to join them? He did initially on loan in a bid to get around Financial Fair Play rules following the £200,000,000 mega transfer of Neymar to the Parc des Princes from Barcelona and Mbappe then starred in Russia, scoring four goals including one in the World Cup 2018 final.
Winger Lemar only played one game of the tournament, the goalless draw with Denmark that sent both sides through to the knockout phase, but produced some sublime displays when Monaco won the French league under Jardim.
After being linked with plenty of clubs across Europe, it was Atletico Madrid of La Liga that landed Lemar’s signature this summer. Odds of 5/1 are available on Atleti winning the league in the Spanish football betting on offer at bet365, with manager Diego Simeone having already done so in 2013-14.
A serious knee injury following his switch to Manchester City over the summer of 2017 threatened to wreck attacking left back Mendy’s hopes of making the plane to Russia. Les Bleus boss Didier Deschamps still included the former Monaco man, who Jardim signed from Marseille in 2016, on his roster for the World Cup 2018.
Like Lemar, Mendy only figured once for France at the tournament in the same game against Denmark. Now he’s back fully fit, expect him to be a regular under Pep Guardiola as red-hot Premier League betting favourites Man City defend their crown.
The only player Monaco have kept hold of that was part of the successful World Cup 2018 vintage and that has outlasted Jardim on the Riviera is full-back Sidibe. Predominantly used down the right-hand side of defence, he had been known to deputise for Mendy on the opposite flank.
An inspired signing from Lille in 2016, Sidibe was also on the fringes of France’s first XI in Russia. There’s a familiar pattern as yes, you’ve guessed it, he played in the final group stage game; that 0-0 against the Danes.