Football Features

Where are they now? Lille’s 2010/11 Ligue 1 title-winning side

By Squawka News

Published: 13:00, 12 January 2024

Before Ligue 1 turned into a Paris Saint-Germain private party in 2013, France’s top tier served up some classic title battles, and Lille’s triumph in 2010/11 was one of the finest.

Les Dogues have replicated that feat exactly a decade on, dismantling the Parisian stranglehold on the division this season, but their triumph at the start of the 2010s remains firmly etched in Hauts-de-France folklore.

It was the Ligue 1 side’s third championship, and first since 1954, and represented the arrival of a very talented side that, against the odds, displayed some of the finest attacking football to have ever graced the league.

It wasn’t all plain sailing, and before Rudi Garcia’s team emerged as overall winners, the title race remained incredibly tight as Marseille, Bordeaux and Lyon (the three previous French league champions) desperately attempted to keep up with Lille’s determined side.

The historic Double win — with the club also clinching the Coupe de France — was the introduction of several of Lille’s hot European prospects, unsung heroes and deadly goalscorers, before the continent’s covetous elite ultimately came stampeding through the shop door and pillaged the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.

Fans will be hoping Lille’s current crop of burgeoning superstars stick around for a few more years and try to deliver further success for the club, but that wasn’t the case 10 years ago.

With that, we’ve taken a look at the excellent Lille 2010/11 Ligue 1 title-winning side and where they are now.

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Goalkeeper: Mickael Landreau

Age: 44

Appearances for Lille: 160

Current side: Retired, most recently managed Lorient

Lille’s sturdy pair of hands during the 2010/11 campaign, Mickael Landreau kept 11 clean sheets in 38 appearances. The French shot-stopper spent three seasons at the club before signing for Bastia in 2013.

He then retired in 2015 after earning 11 national team caps, winning the French title with Nantes in 2001 and the Coupe de la Ligue with Paris Saint-Germain in 2008.

Landreau has since dipped his toes in management, most recently taking the reins at Lorient before leaving in May 2019.

Right-back: Mathieu Debuchy

Age: 38

Appearances for Lille: 306

Current side: Retired

Mathieu Debuchy came of age during the 2010/11 season and, alongside his best friend Yohan Cabaye, gathered the attention of many European clubs. The efficient right-back played 35 times during the campaign and scored two goals.

He rejoined Cabaye at Newcastle United in 2013 and swiftly became a popular figure among the Magpies’ fans due to his dedicated and consistent performances. Debuchy left the club after just one season when Arsenal became interested in his services but, despite starting well at the Emirates, he was kept out of the side by Hector Bellerin and had a loan spell at Bordeaux.

The defender returned to France in January 2018, joining Saint-Etienne on a free transfer, where he remained until joining Valenciennes before hanging up his boots in 2023.

Centre-back: Aurelien Chedjou

Age: 38

Appearances for Lille: 206

Current side: Retired

All title-winning sides require a solid centre-back and Aurelien Chedjou was exactly that. The excellent centre-back made 34 appearances during the season and formed a solid partnership with Adil Rami.

His form during the title-winning season put him in the shop window of some European sides and in 2013 he signed for Turkish giants Galatasaray where he scored a massive 12 goals in 117 games for the club.

After winning the Super Lig once and the Turkish Cup three times with Galatasaray, Chedjou joined Istanbul Basaksehir in 2017, before oscillating between France and Turkey, turning out for Amiens and then Adana Demirspor.

Centre-back: Adil Rami

Age: 38

Appearances for Lille: 163

Current side: Free agent

Similar to Chedjou, Adil Rami played 36 games during the 2010-11 season and the pair worked well together at the centre of defence. The Frenchman made over 150 appearances for the club before moving to Valencia in 2011.

His form continued in La Liga and he earned 26 appearances for France before falling out (and openly criticising his teammates) with Los Che and subsequently signing for AC Milan in 2014.

He only lasted one season in Italy and moved back to Spain the following year, signing for Sevilla where he made 79 appearances in total before returning to France with Marseille in the summer of 2017.

Part of France’s World Cup-winning squad in 2018, he did not feature once during the tournament and retired from international duty after the final.

Left-back: Emerson

Age: 37

Appearances for Lille: 115

Current side: Retired

The left-back made two assists in his 26 appearances during the 2010-11 and was largely Rudi Garcia’s first-choice left-back. The Brazilian went on to play over 100 games for Lille before moving to Benfica shortly after the Ligue 1 title win.

His time in Portugal was limited and after just one season (in which he won the Portuguese Cup) he left and signed for Trabzonspor in 2012. Emerson made his return to France the following year and signed for Rennes before moving back to his homeland in 2014, signing for Atletico Mineiro. He last played for Cianorte.

Central midfield: Rio Mavuba

Age: 39

Appearances for Lille: 370

Current side: Retired

During the successful 2010-11 season Mavuba played in 46 matches and made a huge contribution to their success under Garcia and was by far Lille’s most unsung hero. 

He played over 350 games for Lille, becoming renowned for his excellent midfield performances and tough tackling before leaving for Sparta Prague in July 2017.

In September 2018, Mavuba signed with National 3 club FCE Merignac-Arlac and has since hung up his boots, bowing out after a glittering career.

Central midfield: Yohan Cabaye

Age: 35

Appearances for Lille: 251

Current side: Retired

Cabaye had arguably one of the best seasons of his career in the 2009-10 season for Lille. He appeared in 46 matches, scoring a career-high 15 goals and assisting 10. In the year Lille won the league, he featured in 36 matches and scored twice. 

He left the French side at the end of the season, earning a move to the Premier League with Newcastle. After a successful three years in Tyneside, he moved back home to sign for French juggernauts Paris Saint-Germain. However, he failed to gain enough first-team appearances and was reunited with Alan Pardew (his former boss at Newcastle) at Crystal Palace.

Short spells at UAE club Al-Nasr and Saint-Etienne concluded Cabaye’s career.

Central midfield: Ludovic Obraniak

Age: 39

Appearances for Lille: 201

Current side: Retired

Playing alongside Cabaye and Mavuba in the middle of Lille’s midfield, Ludovic Obraniak made 26 appearances during the 2010-11 season, grabbing two goals and two assists.

Obraniak left the club at the end of the successful campaign and signed for league rivals Bordeaux where he spent two and a half seasons. The Poland international moved to Germany in 2014 when he signed for Werder Bremen but he only made 12 appearances for the club and was sent out on loan to Turkish side Caykur Rizespor.

He then spent the 2015-16 season in Israel with Maccabi Haifa before moving back to his homeland in 2016 when he joined Auxerre before being released at the end of the 2017/18 season. Obraniak retired shortly after.

Attacking midfield: Eden Hazard

Age: 33

Appearances for Lille: 194

Current side: Retired

The making of a star. Eden Hazard demonstrated his outstanding quality during the 2010-11 season and played a huge part in Lille’s title-winning success. He scored seven goals and made 11 assists during his 38 appearances, but had an even better campaign in 2011-12, scoring 20 and recording 16 assists, gathering the attention of the world’s biggest sides.

During the post-season, Hazard chose to sign for Chelsea and went on to win the Premier League twice, the Europa League twice, the FA Cup and a League Cup as well as establishing himself as one of Europe’s finest attacking midfielders, which naturally alerted a Galactico-hungry Florentino Perez.

The Belgian moved to Real Madrid for an eye-watering nine-figure sum in 2019, but he has endured an injury-plagued existence in the Spanish capital and called it time on his professional career in 2023.

Attacking midfield: Gervinho

Age: 36

Appearances for Lille: 93

Current side: Free agent

It’s difficult to think of Gervinho before his unsuccessful time at Arsenal but the attacking midfielder was exceptional for Lille during his time at the club, scoring 15 goals and grabbing 11 assists during the 2010-11 title-winning season.

His performances gathered the attention of a host of Europe’s finest clubs and he signed for the Gunners the following season. After two years at the Emirates and only a handful of performances mirroring his Lille days, Gervinho signed for Roma in 2013 and once again impressed at the top level.

After 88 appearances and 26 goals, he became part of the huge Chinese revolution that saw several high-calibre players move to the Far East, signing for Hebei China Fortune in 2016.

With four goals in 29 games across three years, the former Arsenal winger was released and subsequently signed with Parma in August 2018, though he was unable to prevent the club from finishing dead last in Serie A this season, and he is now a free agent following spells at Trabzonspor and Aris.

CF: Moussa Sow

Age: 37

Appearances for Lille: 76 

Current side: Retired

One of the club’s most deadly strikers, it was a shame for Lille that they couldn’t hang onto Moussa Sow and he was sold to Fenerbahce midway through the following season for a large profit.

Sow was the top scorer during the 2010-11 campaign with 25 league goals and also contributed with seven assists.

After moving to Turkey the forward scored 60 goals in 148 games before leaving for Al Ahli in 2015. He moved back to Fenerbahce on loan for the 2016/17 campaign and returned to Turkey permanently in 2019, first joining Gazisehir Gaziantep before ending his career at Umraniyespor.

Notable mentions: 

Florent Balmont

Age: 43

Appearances for Lille: 323

Current side: Retired

A Lille legend, Florent Balmont played over 300 games for the French side and his 27 midfield appearances during the 2010-11 season played a big part to Lille’s success. He joined Dijon in the summer of 2016 on a free transfer and has since called time on his playing career.

Pierre-Alain Frau

Age: 43

Appearances for Lille: 123

Current side: Retired 

Just the five goals in 29 appearances for Pierre-Alain Frau but his contribution still helped the side greatly and he went on to score 29 times overall before leaving the club after the title-winning year. He retired in 2014 after a spell at Sochaux.

Tulio de Melo

Age: 38

Appearances for Lille: 136

Current side: Retired

Four goals in 29 appearances for Tulio de Melo, who went on to play 136 times for the French side. He signed for Evian in 2014 before moving to Spain and signing for Real Valladolid. The forward most recently played for Avispa Fukuoka in Japan before retiring.