The new Ligue 1 season begins this weekend and here Sport360 has compiled the ultimate two-part guide to each team including predictions, vital statistics and key transfer news. Part one covers Angers to Marseille.
Coach: Stephane Moulin
Star man: Abdoul Camara
Last season: 3rd (Ligue 2)
Coach: Ghislain Printant
Star man: Floyd Ayite
Last season: 12th Key ins: Sadio Diallo (Stade Rennais), Seko Fofana (Loan, Manchester City), Yassine Jebbour (Montpellier)
Key outs: Ryad Boudebouz (Montpellier), Drissa Diakite (Released), Djibril Cisse (Free, JS Saint-Pierroise)
Prediction: They were one of only four clubs to beat PSG last term but much of the focus during the summer has been on problems with not guaranteeing their budget. Should they cement their Ligue 1 place, mid-table beckons – 11th.
Coach: Willy Sagnol
Star man: Diego Rolan
Last season: 6th
Key ins: Milan Gajic (OFK Beograd)
Key outs: Mariano (Sevilla), Younes Kaabouni (Red Star, loan), Julien Faubert (Released), Emiliano Sala (Nantes), Castro (Released), Azbe Jug (Sporting Lisbon)
Prediction: It’s been a very quiet window for Bordeaux, which suggests Sagnol will focus on the younger players at his disposal. There’s still time but fans will be concerned. They do have the boost of an impressive new stadium, though – 9th.
Coach: Patrice Garande
Star man: Lenny Nangis
Last season: 13th
Key ins: Andy Delort (Wigan), Jonathan Delaplace (Lille), Michael Nkololo (Clermont Foot)
Key outs: N’Golo Kante (Leicester), Bengali-Fode Koita (Free, Blackburn Rovers), Thomas Lemar (AS Monaco)
Prediction: The loss of combative midfielder Kante will be dearly felt this season. Caen struggled to get going in the early stages of last season and pulled themselves from danger with a good run of form in 2015, they may not be so fortunate this term – 15th.
Coach: Thierry Laurey
Star man: Kevin Mayi
Last season: 2nd (Ligue 2)
Key ins: Jerome Le Moigne (Lens), Issiaga Sylla (Toulouse, loan), Alassane Toure (Tours)
Key outs: Cyriaque Rivieyran (Clermont Foot), Florian Fabre (Nimes Olympique), Yoann Andreu (Angers)
Prediction: It’s been some rise for the Corsican minnows and they caused a big shock with promotion to the top flight. Last season the underdogs were tipped for relegation and defied the odds but it’s difficult to see them pulling off a repeat. – 20th.
Coach: Jocelyn Gourvennec
Star man: Jimmy Briand
Last season: 10th
Key ins: Jimmy Briand (Hannover 96), Nicolas Benezet (Evian), Sloan Privat (Gent, loan)
Key outs: Claudio Beauvue (Lyon), Christophe Mandanne (Released), Rachid Alioui (Stade Lavallois)
Prediction: Beauvue’s goal-scoring exploits last season were bound to attract the interests of some of the top clubs and Lyon have pounced. The loss of their top scorer leaves a big hole to fill but the free transfer of talented winger Briand is a smart piece of business – 8th.
Coach: Herve Renard
Star man: Vincent Enyeama
Last season: 8th
Key ins: Mounir Obbadi (AS Monaco), Eric Bautheac (Nice), Baptiste Guillaume (RC Lens)
Key outs: Adama Traore (Monaco), Idrissa Gueye (Aston Villa), Simon Kjaer (Fenerbahce), Nolan Roux (Saint-Etienne)
Prediction: Goals will be the problem for Renard’s side again this season and without the reliant Kjaer to call upon that defensive solidity from last term could soon evaporate. Bautheac is a promising addition but avoiding the bottom half is the height of their ambition – 7th.
Coach: Sylvain Ripoll
Star man: Raphael Guerreiro
Last season: 16th
Key ins: Moryke Fofana (Lillestrom SK), Alain Traore (Monaco), Benjamin Moukandjo (Reims), Enzo Reale (Arles Avignon)
Key outs: Jordan Ayew (Aston Villa), Mathias Autret (Lens)
Prediction: Lorient have have lost Ayew but made a sensible replacement in Moukandjo. The left-sided Guerreiro is a class act and this could prove his last season with the club. Always a stable and well managed outfit they should still avoid the drop with mid-table a realistic aim – 14th.
Coach: Hubert Fournier
Star man: Alexandre Lacazette
Last season: 2nd
Key ins: Claudio Beauvue (Guingamp), Jeremy Morel (Marseille), Rafael (Man United)
Key outs: Yoann Gourcuff (Released) Fares Bahlouli (AS Monaco)
Prediction: Last season’s runners-up will be the side to mount a sizeable challenge to PSG and their best piece of business during the summer has been to hold onto Europe’s hottest property in Lacazette. Still a young team, this could be the season the likes of Nabil Fekir come of age – 2nd.
Coach: Marcelo Bielsa
Star man: Florian Thauvin
Last season: 4th
Key ins: Javier Manquillo (Atletico Madrid, loan), Lucas Ocampos (Monaco), Lassana Diarra (Free), Abou Diaby (Free), Karim Rekik (Manchester City)
Key outs: Dimitri Payet (West Ham), Andre-Pierre Gignac (Tigres Monterrey), Rod Fanni (El Arabi), Andre Ayew (Swansea City), Giannelli Imbula (Porto)
Prediction: Missed out on a Champions League spot by two points but given the huge turnover of players it could be a big struggle. Keeping the enigmatic Biesla is a plus but the loss of Payet is critical – 5th.
Watching Argentina suffer penalty shoot-out heartbreak during this summer’s Copa America final, the debate over the greatest player ever to represent the Albiceleste began once again. Some champion Barcelona man Lionel Messi, while others inevitably call to mind the exploits of Diego Maradona, who almost single-handedly led the team to its second World Cup triumph back in 1986.
Messi’s international career has always been somewhat overshadowed by that comparison and the legacy he inherited as he pulled on Argentina’s iconic No. 10 shirt. Very few shirts in world football are as history-laden as that one, with perhaps Manchester United’s No. 7 jersey chief among them. That particular legacy began with George Best and lived on over the years through Bryan Robson and Eric Cantona before being worn by David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo.
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) August 6, 2015
While that shirt at Old Trafford is seemingly synonymous with maverick genius, in Italy the No. 10 shirt is a hallmark of class, leadership and creativity, seen today in the likes of Antonio Di Natale at Udinese. At Roma, Francesco Totti has long carried on a tradition which evokes memories of Fiorentina’s Giancarlo Antognoni, the Milan golden boy Gianni Rivera, Sandro Mazzola of Inter and his father Valentino with the tragic Il Grande Torino.
Yet perhaps the shirt is most prestigious at Juventus, who announced on Thursday that Paul Pogba will take ownership of the number from 2015-16. It is a clear indication of the faith Juventus have in the 22-year-old Frenchman, who now inherits a heavy legacy. Not only will he now have the task of making up for the loss of Andrea Pirlo and Arturo Vidal in midfield, but does so wearing a shirt synonymous with a number of club legends.
Here, Sport360 looks at some of the iconic names who have worn the No. 10 shirt for Italian football’s grand Old Lady.
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GIOVANNI FERRARI (1930-35)
While other men pulled on the jersey before Ferrari, he was undoubtedly the man who gave birth to its legend. He joined Juventus in 1930, staying five years and helping the Bianconeri lift the Serie A title in each of those seasons. That record is yet to be broken and Ferrari enhanced his legacy by helping Italy to World Cup glory in 1934 and 1938.
He scored 35 goals in 125 appearances for the club, pulling the strings behind the strikers and becoming the first truly iconic playmaker in Juventus folklore.
OMAR SIVORI (1957-1965)
Juventus endured some barren years following the end of the 1930s and the outbreak of World War II, but as Gianni Agnelli began to construct a team that could once again dominate Italian football, he would bring the No. 10 shirt back to the forefront of conversation.
In 1957, the FIAT magnate spent heavily in order to deliver the talent his side so sorely lacked, signing Welsh legend John Charles before breaking the world transfer record to bring Omar Sivori to the club. While the former was the elegant ‘Gentle Giant’, the latter was a whirling dervish of Argentinean temper, playing with a volatility that often boiled over on the pitch.
He scored and created goals with amazing regularity however, winning three Serie A titles and finishing as the league’s top scorer in 1960. A year later he would become the first Juventus player to win the Ballon d’Or as recognition of the skill, creativity and vision he displayed throughout his time in Turin.
MICHEL PLATINI (1982-1987)
Irish legend Liam Brady deserves praise for his exploits with the Bianconeri, the former Arsenal man playing wonderfully in the Juventus No. 10 shirt before being replaced by Michel Platini. However, the Frenchman would perform incredibly, making that decision look like a masterstroke by the club’s hierarchy.
If those who went before him created the legacy, Platini would enshrine it forever, winning seven major trophies in five years and claiming the top scorer gong in Serie A three times in a row from midfield. That same period saw him lift a hat-trick of Ballon d’Or awards, prompting Gianni Agnelli to remark that although he had “bought him for a loaf of bread, he gave us foie gras!”
He would walk away on top of the game aged just 31, leaving behind an army of fans who simply called him ‘The King.’
ROBERT) BAGGIO (1990-1995)
Three years after Platini’s retirement, Roberto Baggio arrived in Turin to fill both the France international’s iconic boots and shirt. Like his predecessor, ‘The Divine Ponytail’ would spend just five years with the Bianconeri, but he created a legacy that lived on as he dazzled in black and white.
Baggio would also continue the tradition of lifting the Ballon d’Or, winning the honour in 1993 as he continually carried the Old Lady to victory. He netted 115 goals for the club in just 200 games, eventually helping her end the dominance Milan enjoyed before his arrival.
ALESSANDRO DEL PIERO (1993-2012)
Baggio’s exit coincided with the introduction of squad numbers in Serie A, meaning Alessandro Del Piero was the first man assigned the shirt on a permanent basis. It could not be more fitting, with the Italian going on to become the club’s all-time leading scorer and appearance maker and lifting no fewer than 18 major trophies in a career in Turin which spanned 19 seasons.
Beating defenders with ease in his youth and scoring incredible goals on a regular basis well in to the latter stage of his career, the decision to remain with the club following demotion to Serie B punctuated an already iron clad legacy. “A true gentleman never leaves his lady,” the captain wrote in an emotional letter to fans following the Calciopoli scandal, encapsulating their feelings and proving that he was indeed ‘one of them’.
He would leave in 2012, his final game becoming a mere side note following his substitution, Juventus Stadium ignoring the match to say a tearful farewell to a legend.
CARLOS TEVEZ (2013-2015)
The No. 10 shirt was left unassigned following Del Piero’s departure, both out of respect for his legacy and in recognition that nobody at the club truly deserved to wear it. That would end 12 months later, the arrival of Carlos Tevez seeing Juventus capture a player who could continue the tradition of its most prestigious honour, as he told reporters at his unveiling.
“I feel the responsibility of wearing this number and I am aware of the great responsibility of representing Juventus and playing for the club so this number is certainly a great challenge,” Tevez said. “Obviously I didn’t want to forget Del Piero who was the last player to wear No. 10. He is a person and player that I greatly respect and who certainly represents an emblem and symbol of esteem. It is a great pleasure and honour to wear this jersey with his number.”
While there was little danger of forgetting Del Piero, Tevez quickly ensured that any debate over his right to wear the No. 10 ended before it truly began. He scored in each of his first three appearances, going on to net 50 goals in 95 games for the club before deciding to return to Boca Juniors this summer.
Mario Gotze's future at Bayern Munich remains a mystery after he once again failed to rule out leaving the record German champions this summer.
Speaking after Bayern won the Audi Cup with a 1-0 win over Real Madrid on Wednesday night, Gotze only revised part of his remarks from 24 hours earlier, when he was particularly coy about what the future held, saying he'd had two difficult years with the club.
He set the record straight only that he has no problem with Pep Guardiola after suggesting on Thursday that his goal against AC Milan might prompt the Catalan to talk to him more often.
All the rest about not being sure where he will be playing next season was repeated on Wednesday, although he hinted it would not necessarily be his decision to leave.
"I'm very, very happy here," he told ZDF television. "From my side, I can say that I'm happy to play here, with these fans, with this club – it's a fantastic job.
"I'm very happy with everything around me and with the things that happen here, but there are always two sides to everything."
Later in the Allianz Arena mixed zone, the 23-year-old continued to leave the door open to a transfer among persisting rumours that Italian champions Juventus are preparing a bid.
"Whatever happens, there's no question that I'm happy here. As for the rest we'll just have to wait and see, like I said on Tuesday," he told reporters, quotes sport1.de.