WHO ARE MONACO?
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.