Soccer 360 - - Bundesliga -

Not one of Europe’s true heavy­weights, Monaco are by no means small fry either. Owner Dmitry Ry­bolov­ley has a net worth of al­most $7bn, but there’s more to the club than that…

Monaco are not only one of France’s rich­est clubs but one of the rich­est clubs in terms of his­tory. Fans of Les Moné­gasques have seen eight Ligue 1 wins, span­ning five dif­fer­ent decades whilst they’ve fin­ished run­ners-up seven times. To go with those ti­tle wins, they have five Coupe de Frances along with one Coupe de La Ligue.

It wasn’t just the 2016-17 sea­son where Monaco caught the at­ten­tion of Europe’s elite. In 2003-04, Di­dier Deschamps’ side made it all the to the Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal in Gelsenkirchen, where they lost to

Jose Mour­inho’s Porto. Along the way, teams such as De­portivo La Coruna,

Real Madrid and Chelsea fell be­fore the French side.

Alas, by 2011 Monaco were a fallen gi­ant. The club were lan­guish­ing in Ligue 2 but a shin­ing light in the form of Rus­sian bil­lion­aire, Dmitry Ry­bolovlev, ac­quired the club for a to­ken €1. Af­ter pro­mo­tion in May 2013, Monaco at­tempted to force their way into Europe’s elite clubs by spend­ing lav­ishly on play­ers such as Radamel Fal­cao, James Ro­driguez and Joao Moutinho.

Within a year, Colom­bian pair Ro­driguez and Fal­cao had been shipped off. Monaco’s Vice-Pres­i­dent Vadim Vasi­lyev started that there were two ways to go — to spend a lot of money or to ‘build up an in­tel­li­gent project and base your­self on your academy and sound prin­ci­ples of work­ing and scout­ing.’ Since the sum­mer of 2014, Monaco have stuck to their word.

It’s hard to ar­gue with the suc­cess of the ‘in­tel­li­gent project.’ A small hand­ful of the play­ers to pass through Monaco’s team since 2014-15 in­clude Kylian Mbappe, An­thony Mar­tial, Layvin Kurzawa, Ge­of­frey Kon­dog­bia, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Ber­nado Silva, Yan­nick Carasco and Thomas Le­mar, each one vaunted as among the best in their po­si­tions in the word.

Ry­bolovlev is though not without his controversies. His name came up in the Panama Pa­pers tax avoid­ance scan­dal, he has been in­volved in a fraud in­ves­ti­ga­tion — where he de­nied any wrong­do­ing — and ac­cu­sa­tions of third­party own­er­ship of play­ers, out­lawed by Fi­nan­cial Fair Play, have been levied too.

Dmitry Ry­bolov­ley

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