Monaco eager to prove themselves
MONACO: A closer look at Monaco ahead of their Champions League semi-final, first leg against Juventus tomorrow.
SEASON SO FAR
It has been an astonishing season for Monaco, who have scored 146 goals in all competitions and are on course for a French league-Champions League double.
Monaco have been averaging nearly three goals per game and top the French league standings with a three-point lead over Paris Saint-Germain, having played a game less.
On the continental stage, Monaco have come a long way since July 27 last year, when they started out in the qualifying rounds with a trip to Istanbul. Monaco got past Fenerbahce and then beat Spanish side Villarreal to reach the group stages.
Led by resurgent forward Radamel Falcao and teenage star Kylian Mbappe — who have combined for 52 goals in all competitions — Monaco qualified for their fourth European Cup semifinal after scoring in all but one of their 14 games in this season’s competition.
Monaco’s attacking might was on display in the knockout rounds when Leonardo Jardim’s team reached the quarter-finals with a thrilling away-goals victory against Manchester City which ended 6-6 on aggregate. Monaco, the 2004 Champions League runners-up, then beat Borussia Dortmund 6-3 on aggregate.
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH z KYLIAN MBAPPE — The teenage striker has scored 24 goals in 38 matches in all competitions. Despite his young age, he has shown the composure of a seasoned striker in recent months, especially in big games. The 18-year-old Mbappe has been compared with France great Thierry Henry and his skills have also earned him a spot in France squad. He is the talk of European football thanks to lightning speed, trickery, and calm finishing. His transfer market value is already estimated at around €100 million (RM470 million).
z RADAMEL FALCAO — Falcao’s 28 goals this season have confirmed his return to the highest level. Falcao spent the past two seasons on loan to Manchester United and Chelsea, where he had a miserable time as he struggled to recover from a serious knee injury. He nearly went on loan again this season. But the club gave him another chance, and he has blossomed into a natural leader as captain, despite some fitness issues.
z FABINHO — With the Brazilian midfielder on the pitch, Monaco have lost just once in 2017.
His partnership with Tiemoue
Bakayoko in midfield has been key in Monaco’s league and Champions League campaigns.
A technically gifted holding midfielder who started at right back, Fabinho has also been contributing in attack, scoring 10 goals in 47 appearances.