France has developed a reputation for producing some of the best players and football teams in the world. It became a dominant force in European competitions, repeatedly showing quality skills on the world stage through victories in the World Cup and the UEFA European Football Championship.
Part of what has made French football so successful on the international stage is the quality of football being played in the highest tier of French football, Ligue 1. In today’s article, we’ll be looking at the teams that have risen to dominate Ligue 1 and their success outside France.
No list of dominant French teams would be complete without mentioning Paris Saint-Germain Football Club, often referred to as PSG.
While PSG was founded in the 1970s, its period of footballing excellence didn’t really come to fruition until 2011, when Qatar Sports Investments helped to finance the club. Prior to that, PSG had won titles, including the league title and the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, but they had struggled with consistency and had flirted with bankruptcy and relegation.
Since 2011, the club has brought its winnings tally up to 41 titles, making it the most successful French club in history. They have won seven of the last eight Ligue 1 titles and are now led by talents like Zlatan Ibrahimović, Thiago Silva, Edinson Cavani, Neymar and Kylian Mbappé.
Officially known as Olympique Lyonnais, the club commonly referred to as Lyon was founded in 1899 as Lyon Olympique Universitaire, before changing its name and becoming nationally established in the 1950s.
Much like Paris Saint-Germain, Lyon has enjoyed its most successful period in recent years, winning its first Ligue 1 title in 2002. Since that time they have won a record-setting seven Ligue 1 titles in a row, as well as five Coupes de France, and eight Trophées des Champions. They had also participated in the UEFA Champions League 12 times, reaching the semi-finals in 2010.
As a country, Monaco’s reputation has been built around opulence. The city of Monte Carlo itself is a glittering jewel, popular with celebrities, and considered the casino capital of the world.
While most of the world has embraced the age of the digital casino and the sheerly enjoyable convenience of being able to enjoy platforms like Betfair casino on a mobile device, Monaco has kept some of that intangible James Bond-esque glitz and glamour and remains a luxurious vacation spot.
For football terms, this opulence gives a fantastic amount of buying power for the team from the tiny principality, especially since two-thirds of the club is owned by an investment group led by the Russian billionaire, Dmitry Rybolovlev.
The club has repeatedly turned its financial stability into lifted trophies, having won eight league titles, five Coupes de France, and coming in as runners-up in the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1992 and its spiritual successor the UEFA Champions League in 2004.
Lille Olympique Sporting Club has a fairly storied history. The club was formed as a merger between Olympique Lillois and SC Fives. Both Olympique Lillois and SC Fives had been founder members of the Ligue 1 and Olympique Lillois has won the first-ever league championship in 1933.
After the merger, the newly formed Lille Olympique Sporting Club, often referred to as LOSC, has won three league titles (four if you count that initial one) and six Coupe de France titles and have recently qualified for the 2019–20 UEFA Champions League group stage.
Olympique de Marseille was formed in 1899 and have one of the highest tallies of titles won of all the clubs in Ligue 1. They won ten official league titles, ten Coupes de France, three Coupes de la Ligue and winning the UEFA Champions League in 1993, the first French club to do so.
Marseille’s European success is currently under threat as the club is facing sanctions for not conforming with UEFA Financial Fair Play Regulations (FFP). While their club president, Jacques-Henri Eyraud, has quashed rumors that they might be excluded from the Champions’ League for the 2020/21 season, there is a very real possibility that they may not take part in the 2021/22 competition.