The world of football is always ready to welcome surprising clubs breaking onto the scene and making it large in major tournaments throughout the year, and the team to do that this season is one from France, and it goes by the name of AS Monaco.
After securing promotion from the Ligue 2 in 2013, Monaco have spent big and invested in players plenty, but success has been far and few in between in a span of three testing years. However, this season has printed their name across fan bases of the sport all over the globe.
The team has had a season their fans have been waiting to see, and with it coming to its final stages, here is a look into their performances across the different competitions they were a part of, and the players that have helped them do so:
1. UEFA Champions League Semi-finals
A competition that seemed nothing less than a dream a few years back for the club and its fans was turned into magical reality this year, as Monaco were not only a part of the UEFA Champions League, but also managed to reach within one match of actually winning the trophy.
Competing in a league with teams like Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, and many other mega names across Europe, not many expected the French side to make it as far as they did in the tournament. After topping a group above Tottenham, Bayer Leverkusen, and CSKA Moskva, the team was tipped to die out in the round of 16, when they came up against Pep Guardiola and his Manchester City side.
However, they shocked one and all by overcoming the odds and progressing through to the quarters, where they sensationally knocked away the challenge of Borussia Dortmund over two legs.
Their progress was meant to last only till the semi-final, where they were outclassed by Juventus, but not before proving to the world their hunger for greatness and sending a message that they will be back for more once the next season of Europe’s elite cup competition begins.
2. Kylian Mbappe
Football is a team sport, but one can not deny that Monaco have been represented majorly by their 18-year-old striker and his brilliance in front of goal so far this season, and his style of attacking, direct game play is what the team has been identified to display in their performances.
Kylian Mbappe has been a revelation this season, and his goals have been the major reason for Monaco’s sudden rise across various platforms this year. With 15 goals and 8 assists in the Ligue 1, he has been leading the attack with utmost ease and glory, thus attracting attention from all major clubs across Europe, and also increasing the value of his own team at the same time.
With another 11 goals in other competitions, the striker has surely set very high centre-forward standards at the club, and will result in the manager pulling in bigger names to join them next season onwards.
3. Domestic Cup Competitions
If European and Ligue 1 glory was not enough for the underdogs of French football, they further impressed in cup competitions, as they reached the semi-final and final stages of the Coupe De France and the Coupe de la Ligue respectively.
But they ended up facing defeats in both matches at the hands of rivals Paris Saint-Germain.
4. Winning The Ligue 1
The French league had been dominated by Paris Saint-Germain since the past 4 years, and with the money they spent and the youth they possess, Monaco seemed like the side fit enough to challenge the Capital, and they did much better than that.
A latest 2-0 win over St.Etienne secured and confirmed the victory of the League for the team skippered by El Tigre, Radamel Falcao, and it was fittingly created by a goal from their hitman Mbappe.
The players have managed to secure a total of 92 points with one game left in the season so far, which keeps them 6 points and an untouchable distance away from second place side and defending champions PSG. The team has been full of flare and goals throughout the campaign, and having scored over a 100 times clearly proves the ease with which they find the back of the net.
This not-so-small side has had a season to cherish, and the pressure of such a feat is being able to repeat it in the campaign to follow. With their star players being linked to other major clubs, and rivals like PSG planning on avenging their title loss, next year could head towards either of good or bad.
However, that is for the future, and as far as the 2016-17 season goes, it belongs to Europe’s new favourite kid, AS Monaco.
Written by Vikram Gupta
An attacker with his words, and defends each of them with pride. A love for the game which goes hand in hand with his will to forever write. A graduate in the course of advertising and a hopeful to be author. Herrera for the win.