Football Features

Monaco 2016/17: What happened to the last team to finish above PSG in Ligue 1?

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 14:30, 11 November 2020

Since their historic acquisition by Qatar Sports Investments in 2012, there’s no denying Paris Saint-Germain have been first among equals when in France‘s top flight.

In the preceding eight completed seasons they’ve won all but one of Ligue 1’s championships, with that notable blip coming in the 2016/17 campaign as AS Monaco claimed their eighth domestic title.

It feels like a lifetime ago given what has transpired since but that Monégasque side led by Leonardo Jardim was chock-full of talent and they came so close to reaching a second Champions League final.

Then the inevitable happened, and Monaco were ripped apart in the proceeding months, but what of those star-studded names, where are they now? We’ve taken a look.

Danijel Subašić

Position: Goalkeeper

Career path: Zadar, Hajduk Split, Monaco

Monaco appearances: 292

By the 2016/17 season Danijel Subašić had been a regular feature in Monaco’s team and, from his second year onwards, their number one between the sticks. He’d feature in all but two of their league matches, registering 17 clean sheets in the process, whilst only shipping 28 goals (or 0.8 per game). Subašić — who previously turned out for Hajduk Split and NK Zadar in his native Croatia — would remain in the principality for another three seasons before leaving in 2020, after nearly making 300 appearances for the club.

Djibril Sidibé

Position: Right-back

Career path: Troyes, Lille, Monaco, Everton (loan)

Monaco appearances: 120

A graduate of Troyes, his hometown club, Sidibé ended up at Monaco after enjoying a modest run at Lille where he quickly became renowned for having a keen eye for goal. Joining a forward-thinking Monaco side just ahead of their championship-winning season aided his development but the French full-back, who has won 18 international caps to date, would soon fall out of favour, subsequently joining Everton on loan in 2019. Sidibé has now returned to Monaco and made six Ligue 1 appearances this season under Niko Kovac.

Jemerson

Position: Centre-back

Career path: Atlético Mineiro, Democrata (loan), Monaco, Corinthians

Monaco appearances: 153

It was good timing on Jemerson’s part to sign for Monaco a season before their breakthrough. A bit-part player when he initially joined, Jemerson soon became one of the first names on Jardim’s team sheet, scoring two goals across 34 outings. Having stayed with the club another three seasons, the two-capped Brazil international returned to his homeland earlier this month, joining Corinthians on a permanent deal.

Kamil Glik

Position: Centre-back

Career path: Silesia Lubomia (loan), Horadada, Real Madrid C, Piast Gliwice, Palermo, Bari (loan), Torino, Monaco, Benevento

Monaco appearances: 167

The heartbeat of this Monaco side, Glik was another signed just before their 2016/17 campaign got underway, and the Pole — once on Real Madrid’s books — soon became their undisputed leader at the back and marshalled Jardim’s defence like a general. He remained for another three years after their unexpected triumph before swapping the glitz and glamour of Monte Carlo for newly-promoted Serie A side Benevento, whom he has so far played every minute of Serie A for this season.

Benjamin Mendy

Position: Left-back

Career path: Le Havre, Marseille, Monaco, Manchester City

Monaco appearances: 39

If Glik was the heartbeat then Mendy was certainly the soul and laughter. Fun and games aside, the Longjumeau-born footballer spent one season at Monaco (which ended with a Ligue 1 winner’s medal) and proved to be productive, creating no fewer than 10 goals across 39 matches in all competitions. His eye-catching performances earned a big move to Manchester City and, though his time in England been a relative success, the Frenchman has often sat in the physio room.

Bernardo Silva

Position: Right-winger

Career path: Benfica, Monaco, Manchester City

Monaco appearances: 147

Mendy wasn’t the only Monaco player making his way to City, whom they incredibly knocked out of the Champions League, after this incredible season. Joining him was tricky Portuguese forward Bernardo Silva, who previously represented Benfica, although never quite broke through at Primeira Liga giants. His final Ligue 1 campaign for Monaco saw him bag eight goals across 37 outings whilst creating a further nine. Since linking up with Pep Guardiola he’s been nothing short of a revelation.

Fabinho

Position: Centre midfield

Career path: Fluminense, Rio Ave, Real Madrid Castilla (loan), Real Madrid (loan), Monaco, Liverpool

Monaco appearances: 233

Not everyone left Monaco immediately following their championship-winning campaign, Fabinho notably remained for a further year before joining the Jurgen Klopp revolution at Liverpool. It took some time but the Brazilian is now among the most important players under the German tactician. His time in Monaco initially began on loan from Rio Ave, who previously sent him on a temporary stay to Real Madrid, where he made a single league appearance.

João Moutinho

Position: Centre midfield

Career path: Sporting CP, FC Porto, Monaco, Wolves

Monaco appearances: 219

A decorated winner at boyhood club Sporting CP and FC Porto — where he lifted three Portuguese titles — it was a massive coup for Monaco when they acquired the services of Moutinho who had long been on the wishlist for many super clubs. He would, though, have to wait before getting his hands on championship gold as it came in his penultimate season. It wouldn’t be long before Moutinho moved on and it proved to be another eyebrow raising transfer as the 126-time Portugal international joined Wolves where many of his compatriots are plying their trade.

Tiémoué Bakayoko

Position: Centre midfield

Career path: Rennes, Monaco, Chelsea, Milan (loan), Monaco (loan), Napoli (loan)

Monaco appearances: 115

After humble beginnings at Rennes, where he only made 24 league appearances, Bakayoko made his way to Monaco slowly establishing himself as a presence in their midfield. Strong competition for places meant he wasn’t always guaranteed a starting berth, though whenever Bakayoko turned out for Jardim he seldom put a foot wrong. These impressive showings, that earned comparisons with Yaya Toure, ultimately saw him seal a move to Chelsea but his time at Stamford Bridge hasn’t exactly turned out the way he wanted. A spell on loan at AC Milan was followed by a similar move back to Monaco, and he has since become a cog in Chelsea’s infamous loan machine, joining Napoli on a temporary basis this season.

Thomas Lemar

Position: Left-winger

Career path: Caen, Monaco, Atlético Madrid

Monaco appearances: 127

What made this Monaco side good to watch, aside from the power and creativity, was their emerging young stars. Among them was speedy winger Thomas Lemar, who began his career at reputed talent developers Caen, and unexpectedly after Monaco’s sensational campaign, a who’s who in Europe were vying for his signature. Liverpool and Arsenal were reportedly determined to bag him but in the end Lemar opted for Atlético Madrid where he’s enjoyed a mixed time.

Kylian Mbappé

Position: Striker

Career path: Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain

Monaco appearances: 60

Undisputedly the biggest star of this Monaco side was French football’s golden boy Kylian Mbappé who couldn’t help himself in breaking (and setting new) records across that campaign. He finished his second ever campaign at Monaco, where he rose up the ranks, with 15 goals across 29 league appearances. Being one of Europe’s hottest teenage sensations it wasn’t long before the giants of football were after his services. Mbappé was keen to move, in order to develop himself further, and opted for regional powerhouse PSG that also happened to be located not far from where he grew up. Since linking up with Neymar and company, Mbappé continues to fulfil his destiny.

Radamel Falcao

Position: Striker

Career path: Lanceros Boyacá, River Plate, FC Porto, Atlético Madrid, Monaco, Manchester United (loan), Chelsea (loan), Galatasaray

Monaco appearances: 140

A lethal marksman in his heyday, supporters of FC Porto can attest to, Falcao was on everyone’s lips before signing for Monaco in 2013. a crippling knee injury during his first season subsequently forced him to miss the 2014 World Cup for Colombia and seemingly taken away that aura which once put the fear in defenders. Soon after returning Falcao joined Manchester United and then Chelsea on loan — both spells were disappointing — before turning back the clock as his goals (21 in 29 games) fired Monaco to a first championship in 17 years. He’s since moved on, now representing Turkish giants Galatasaray, where he’s bagged 16 goals in 29 matches so far.