Where did it all go wrong for AS Monaco?

Matthew Riding
Claudio Ranieri 300x225 Where did it all go wrong for AS Monaco?

Claudio Ranieri is now manager of AS Monaco

It was only eight years ago that AS Monaco competed in the Uefa Champions League final against Jose Mourinho’s Porto. Despite losing 3-0 to the Portuguese side that day, the future looked a prosperous one for Monaco, who at the time had Gael Givet, Patrice Evra and striker Fernando Morientes in their ranks.

Much like the principality’s capital Monte Carlo, Didier Deschamp’s side oozed class and held an enviable presence on Europe’s footballing stage. Deschamp’s men possessed a refreshing tone of vibrancy and dynamism, and beat Deportivo La Coruna 8-3 in the competition’s group stage, as well as Real Madrid and Claudio Ranieri’s (now Monaco manager) Chelsea in the knockout stages on the way to the final.

So where have AS Monaco gone? Why are PSG and not Monaco the French team on everybody’s lips?

It might come as a shock to you that Monaco currently find themselves in Ligue 2, France’s equivalent of the Championship. After competing in the Champions League final in 2004 in Gelsenkirchen in front of over 53,000 people, the 2000 Ligue 1 champions now regularly entertain crowds of about 5,000 at their Stade Louis II home, the 11th highest in Ligue 2.

Although Monaco have never been one of France’s biggest supported clubs, their fall from grace has been so devastating that their average home attendances are now half of what they were in 2008, a worrying but understandable decline for a club that isn’t achieving what it once was.

After a number of bad managerial appointments and poor transfer dealings, Monaco were relegated to Ligue 2 in 2011, and without substantial financial backing, the likelihood of the 7-time Ligue 1 champions returning to the top flight looked an unlikely one.

In December of the 2011-2012 season, Monaco were bottom of Ligue 2, and the state of the club was so worrying that Prince Albert of Monaco pleaded for outside investment.

In stepped the 93rd richest man in the world, Dmitry Rybolovlev.

Rybolovlev, a resident of the principality (or at least on one of its many grand yachts), bought a 66 per cent share in the club in December 2011. The Russian, who made his billions in salt, helped the club stabilise, and under his guidance, Monaco finished the 2011-2012 campaign in 8th position.

The summer of 2012 gave Rybolovlev the chance to transform the club. He didn’t waste much time. In May of that year, he appointed Ranieri as manager and after recruiting 19 players in the off season, Monaco were ready to mount a challenge for promotion back to Ligue 1.

With matchday entrance and season tickets available at €4 and €38 respectively, money is the least of Monaco worries. Rybolovlev’s mission is simple – promotion.

This season has gone well for Monaco thus far. They sit top of the table, and look a good bet to get promoted.

Just how far Monaco can go and how much they can achieve in the future remains uncertain, but they are a club heading in the right direction, and with Rybolovlev’s millions behind them, they could soon be the talk of Ligue 1 once more.

Something You May Have Missed

-Joey Barton made his Ligue 1 debut for Marseille against Lille at the Stade Velodrome, got booked, and after the game, turned French.

- Zlatan Ibrahimovic returned after suspension, and scored twice for PSG in their victory over Troyes.

- Toulouse’s Wissam Ben Yedder, who also scored twice at the weekend, will appeal his ban from all national teams until January 2014 for an unauthorised night out while on under-21 duty.

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  • Maria Maria

    Patience! 19 new players and a new coach??? Give the team some time…this kind of evolutions can not happen over night, Monaco was not built in a day!

  • Darren Powell

    Interesting article. Actually, although it did go wrong for ASM as the title of the piece suggests it seems to be going very right now under Rybolovlev’s leadership. Attendances are increasing – one of the few clubs anywhere in France where this is the case. And Rybolovlev seems to be building the backbone of a very good team – strong players coming through the academy, the best in global talent like the young Argentine Ocampos who has been called the next Messi, and – if today’s papers are to be believed – could be about to bring in a seasoned pro like Frank Lampard. What price another Monaco-Chelsea CL semi-final in a couple of years?

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