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Season review: France

Published: Thursday 2 June 2011, 15.00CET
LOSC Lille Métropole had not won a major trophy for 55 years at the start of the season but, inspired by Eden Hazard, ended with a domestic double, while AS Monaco were relegated.
by Christian Châtelet
from Paris
Season review: France
Lille were presented with the trophy last Sunday ©Getty Images
Published: Thursday 2 June 2011, 15.00CET

Season review: France

LOSC Lille Métropole had not won a major trophy for 55 years at the start of the season but, inspired by Eden Hazard, ended with a domestic double, while AS Monaco were relegated.

LOSC Lille Métropole were crowned Ligue 1 champions for the first time since 1954 having already ended their 56-year wait for the French Cup to complete the club's second domestic double. They also produced the player of the year in Belgium playmaker Eden Hazard, while deposed champions Olympique de Marseille had the consolation of second place and a League Cup win. However, after 34 years in the top division, 2004 UEFA Champions League finalists AS Monaco FC were relegated.

Champions: LOSC Lille Métropole
The Dogues were top scorers – aided by 25 goals from Moussa Sow, a close-season signing from the only team who conceded fewer than Lille, Stade Rennais FC. Ivory Coast forward Gervinho also found the net 15 times and produced ten assists, a tally matched by 20-year-old Hazard.

Lille held the lead for most of the season and wrapped up the title with a game to spare, ending eight points clear. Olympique Lyonnais fell short but did secure a UEFA Champions League chance in third with a last-day win at Monaco, sending that team down. Among those replacing Monaco are Ligue 1 debutants Évian Thonon Gaillard FC from the Swiss border.

Cup final: LOSC Lille Métropole 1-0 Paris Saint-Germain FC
A week before wrapping up the title, Lille lifted the cup for the sixth time with an 89th-minute goal from substitute Ludovic Obraniak. Lille previously did the double in 1945/46 – meaning only once, in 1953/54, have they won the league and not also taken the Coupe de France.

European places*
LOSC Lille Métropole – UEFA Champions League group stage
Olympique de Marseille – UEFA Champions League group stage
Olympique Lyonnais – UEFA Champions League play-offs
Paris Saint-Germain FC – UEFA Europa League play-offs
FC Sochaux-Montbéliard – UEFA Europa League play-offs
Stade Rennais FC – UEFA Europa League third qualifying round

*Subject to final confirmation from UEFA

Player of the year: Eden Hazard (LOSC Lille Métropole)
Hazard was named young player of the year over the last two seasons but this term stepped up to take the senior honour. His seven goals and ten assists were vital to Lille's success, a reward for the club's investment in a player they took across the Belgian border aged 15. "This award is for a team at their best," he said. "I also want to congratulate Nenê, Gameiro and Moussa."

One to watch: Mamadou Sakho (Paris Saint-Germain FC)
Hazard's vacant young player award was taken by someone nearly a year Hazard's senior. The 21-year-old France defender aided PSG to fourth place, only just missing out on the UEFA Champions League play-offs, as well as the cup final. "It's rare to see defenders being awarded anything," said the PSG youth product, whose senior France debut came in November in a 2-1 friendly win against England at Wembley. "Usually awards are given to attacking players. I'm really proud, it's nice after this season and all the effort I made since I started."

Surprise package: FC Sochaux-Montbéliard
After flirting with relegation in the last three seasons, Sochaux qualifier for Europe in fifth place after taking 23 points from their last ten games, losing only to Lille. Sochaux's best finish since 2003/04 was aided by Marvin Martin, who produced a league-leading 17 assists to earn a maiden France senior call-up, while Brown Ideye and Modibo Maiga scored 30 goals combined.

Leading scorer: Moussa Sow, LOSC Lille Métropole (25)

Number: 56
The number of years since Lille's last major domestic honour, the 1955 Coupe de France.

Relegated: AC Arles-Avignon, RC Lens, AS Monaco FC

Promoted: Évian Thonon Gaillard FC, Dijon FCO, AC Ajaccio

Quote
"This double is also reward for years of relentless hard work. The players appreciate each other and we like spending time together. Now we can party with the fans. It's fantastic. I think we don't even realise what we've done. This will be in our memories for life." Lille goalkeeper Mickaël Landreau.

Last updated: 08/07/11 16.34CET

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