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Season review: France

Published: Monday 3 June 2013, 10.47CET
The Ligue 1 title finally found its way back to the Parc des Princes, as Paris Saint-German FC delivered a first title since 1994, while FC Girondins de Bordeaux won the French Cup.
by Christian Châtelet
Season review: France
PSG's Zlatan Ibrahimović is congratulated after yet another goal ©AFP/Getty Images
Published: Monday 3 June 2013, 10.47CET

Season review: France

The Ligue 1 title finally found its way back to the Parc des Princes, as Paris Saint-German FC delivered a first title since 1994, while FC Girondins de Bordeaux won the French Cup.

Paris Saint-Germain FC earned their first Ligue 1 title since 1994 thanks partly to their Swedish star Zlatan Ibrahimović. The capital club excelled under Carlo Ancelotti as they finished top scorers and with the best defence in the league, while AS Saint-Étienne also ended a lengthy drought by winning the League Cup, their first major title since 1981.

Évian Thonon Gaillard FC shocked PSG on their journey to the French Cup final but fell two minutes from time at the Stade de France to FC Girondins de Bordeaux 3-2. In Europe, the league winners went down against FC Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals, while Olympique de Marseille failed to progress from the UEFA Europa League group stage and Olympique Lyonnais fell in the round of 32 with Bordeaux going only one round further, losing to eventual runners-up SL Benfica.

Champions: Paris Saint-Germain FC
After bringing in a number of big names in the summer, PSG finally delivered a long-awaited league trophy. Swedish international Ibrahimović struck 30 goals in the league, 43% of the team's total, which eventually proved too much for nearest challengers Olympique de Marseille, who they beat 2-0 three times in the league and both cups. Suffering just five defeats in the season, the Parisians had seven men named in Ligue 1's team of the season, with Salvatore Sirigu, Christophe Jallet, Thiago Silva, Maxwell and Marco Verratti joining Ibrahimović and Blaise Matuidi, who was outstanding throughout and missed only one league game.

Cup final: FC Girondins de Bordeaux 3-2 Évian Thonon Gaillard FC
A last-gasp goal from Cheick Diabaté secured Bordeaux their fourth French Cup at the Stade de France. Diabaté opened the scoring after 39 minutes but missed a penalty after the break and Évian took advantage to level through Yannick Sagbo Latte. Henri Saivet quickly gave Bordeaux the lead for a second time but parity was again restored through Brice Dja Djedjé and the contest appeared destined to end 2-2 until Diabaté struck in the final minute.

European places*
Paris Saint-Germain FC – UEFA Champions League group stage
Olympique de Marseille – UEFA Champions League group stage
Olympique Lyonnais – UEFA Champions League third qualifying round
AS Saint-Étienne – UEFA Europa League group stage
OGC Nice – UEFA Europa League play-off
FC Girondins de Bordeaux – UEFA Europa League third qualifying round

*Subject to final confirmation from UEFA

Player of the year: Zlatan Ibrahimović (Paris Saint-Germain FC)
The 31-year-old was outstanding throughout the season. He scored two goals on his home league debut and finished 11 goals ahead of his closest competitor in the scoring charts, thanks to seven doubles and one hat-trick, ensuring his team lost only once when he scored. In the UEFA Champions League, however Ezequiel Lavezzi was more prolific with five goals but the Sweden forward did score against his former employers FC Barcelona in the quarter-finals.

One to watch: Clément Grenier (Olympique Lyonnais)
The 22-year-old had a fantastic season with Lyon who managed to snatch third place in the league. He contributed seven goals in 28 games for Les Gones, and ended the season with spectacular 30-metre free-kicks against OGC Nice and Stade Rennais FC. He was also his club's top assist provider in the UEFA Europa League and his stats earned him a call up by Didier Deschamps for Les Bleus tour of South America in the summer.

Surprise package: OGC Nice
With only nine points from their first ten league games, nobody would have thought Nice could book themselves a European spot for next season. But they did just that, spearheaded by their Argentine striker Dario Cvitanich, who ended with 19 goals to his name. Sixth before the last day of the season, Claude Puel's men will play UEFA Europa League football next season thanks to their final day win at home against AC Ajaccio, which helped the four-time French champions grab fourth spot.

Leading scorer: Zlatan Ibrahimović, Paris Saint-Germain FC (30)

Relegated: Stade Brestois 29, ES Troyes AC, AS Nancy-Lorraine

Promoted: AS Monaco FC, EA Guingamp, FC Nantes

Number: 967
The total number of goals scored this season in Ligue 1, the highest total in 28 years since 1984/85 (979 goals). The French League can thank PSG striker Ibrahimović, who became the first player to reach the 30-goal milestone since Jean-Pierre Papin in 1989/90 for Olympique de Marseille.

Quote

"I can still play like I could play when I was 21 years old. I have not lost any of my pace, because to be honest I have never really had a lot of pace."
David Beckham reassures PSG fans during his first press conference in January. The oldest player in Ligue 1 this season announced his retirement from football at the end of the season before an emotional farewell at Parc des Princes.

Last updated: 03/06/13 10.48CET

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