Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughA Silva lining for Ligue 1 - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough A Silva lining for Ligue 1 - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

A Silva lining for Ligue 1

As Milan president and former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi confirmed to Gazetta dello Sport that he had “sold Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva to PSG”, adding “We [Milan] will save €150m in two years” we may have witnessed the beginnings of a swing in the power of European football towards the French Ligue 1.

For a league considered to be in the top 5 of European football, it has often lagged behind its four larger and richer counterparts in quality and success. It has only ever produced a single Champions League winner back in 1993 and when Lyon reached the semi finals of the competition in 2010, it was considered a success for French football. Often seen as a feeder league, with many of its biggest stars leaving for the sunnier shores of England (metaphorically, of course) or Spain every summer, Ligue 1 had seemed to cement its position as a secondary league in football.

Then came the money.

In 2011, PSG became the latest club to benefit from Middle Eastern investment and soon made acquisitions from across Europe, bringing Javier Pastore in alongside a host of other names, leading to a second place finish in Ligue 1. However, bringing in household names and players among the best in the world in their positions is one step further and may bring attention, money and players to the rest of the league as a result. PSG are building a side who could potentially compete on a European level once again and this may be to the benefit of Ligue 1 as other clubs look to compete with them.

It may, however, have quite the opposite effect. With PSG having by far and away the best squad on paper in France, Ligue 1 may become a 38 game victory lap for PSG with the 19 other clubs vying for second place. If we assume such stars as Silva and Ibrahimovic are going to Paris for financial reasons (use your imaginations), many of the other clubs in France would simply not be able to offer this. Olivier Giroud, former star striker of Montpellier and golden boot winner in Ligue 1 was on a reported £15,000 a week contract, a fraction of what Europe’s larger clubs could offer.

Pierre-Marie Geronimi, a representative of French club Bastia told RMC “Times are tough for everyone. It will be increasingly difficult for the French players playing abroad to return to France. There is too much difference today between a wage in France and the English salaries, and the tax incentives in France will not be made for the benefit of these type of players.”

Will this situation provide a complete lack of competition for the French title? If PSG run away with the title without anyone running against them, surely this would be detrimental to French football, regardless of the stars that PSG attract. In comparison, even La Liga would look like an open competition. A two horse race is, at least, still a race.


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