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Season review: France

Published: Wednesday 28 May 2014, 9.15CET
"They are like aliens to us," said coach Claudio Ranieri, with AS Monaco FC unable to stop Paris Saint-Germain claiming a second successive title, while EA Guingamp took the cup.
by Christian Châtelet
from Paris
Season review: France
Paris celebrate retaining 'Hexagoal' ©AFP/Getty Images
Published: Wednesday 28 May 2014, 9.15CET

Season review: France

"They are like aliens to us," said coach Claudio Ranieri, with AS Monaco FC unable to stop Paris Saint-Germain claiming a second successive title, while EA Guingamp took the cup.

Laurent Blanc replaced Real Madrid CF-bound Carlo Ancelotti as Paris Saint-Germain coach in the summer, but there were no teething problems as his side stormed to a second straight Ligue 1 title, having also taken the French League Cup, with only promoted AS Monaco FC offering serious resistance. Another promoted team, EA Guingamp, lifted the French Cup.

Champions: Paris Saint-Germain
"This side deserve a place in the record books," asserted coach Blanc after guiding Paris to their second successive championship with three games to spare. They did indeed make history by ending the season with a record points' haul of 89 – and an unprecedented 27 victories – which could easily have been more had the team's domestic form not dipped in the wake of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final exit to Chelsea FC. Edinson Cavani scored 16 in his first Ligue 1 campaign to complement Zlatan Ibrahimović's 26 from 33 matches.

Cup final: Stade Rennais FC 0-2 EA Guingamp
In a repeat of the all-Breton 2009 final, which Guingamp won 2-1, Jonathan Martins Pereira fired his side in front before Mali international Mustapha Yatabaré put the game beyond Rennes early in the second half, getting a head to Steeven Langil's ball from the left. "We appreciated it, we enjoyed it," said Yatabaré afterwards. "In the end we have won this wonderful cup. We can be proud of ourselves. We deserve it – we played the perfect game."

League Cup final: Olympique Lyonnais 1-2 Paris Saint Germain
Paris put a down-payment on a domestic double on 19 April, avenging a league defeat by the same opponents the previous weekend. Cavani struck twice before the interval to establish an insurmountable scoreline. Alexandre Lacazette pulled one back after the restart, but Lyon could not prevent the capital club collecting the trophy for the first time since 2008. "I told you he's a goalscorer," Blanc said of Cavani. "We needed to be patient. And he gave his best answer on the pitch."

European places*
Paris Saint-Germain – UEFA Champions League group stage
AS Monaco FC – UEFA Champions League group stage
LOSC Lille – UEFA Champions League play-offs
AS Saint-Étienne – UEFA Europa League group stage
Olympique Lyonnais – UEFA Europa League play-offs
EA Guingamp – UEFA Europa League group stage

*subject to final confirmation from UEFA

Player of the year: Zlatan Ibrahimović (Paris Saint-Germain)
With 26 goals in France's top flight this term, Ibrahimović outstripped team-mates Thiago Motta and Thiago Silva, plus Monaco forward James Rodríguez, to keep the Trophée UNFP – the player of the season award voted for by fellow professionals. "For the second time in a row, it's a great honour for me," said the Sweden captain. "Thank you to the players, the staff, the coach and the club."

One to watch: Marco Verratti (Paris Saint-Germain FC)
In his second term at the Parc des Princes, the 21-year-old Verratti formed a highly praised midfield trident along with Blaise Matuidi and fellow Italian international Motta. 'Il Guffetto' (The Little Owl) featured in 29 league games, his improved composure and teamwork earning him the best young player accolade at the UNFP awards.

©AFP/Getty Images

James Rodríguez starred for Monaco

Surprise packages: AS Monaco FC, FC Nantes and EA Guingamp
The three promoted sides prospered on their return to the top flight; Nantes acquitted themselves admirably to finish 13th, and while Guignamp lived on their nerves somewhat, the French Cup was worth a little uncertainty towards the end of the campaign. Monaco, meanwhile, were not a million miles away from repeating their 1978 achievement, when they landed the title as a newly promoted team – eventually coming nine points behind Paris in second. "Paris are a class apart," admitted coach Claudio Ranieri, who left the role in May. "They are like aliens to us."

Leading scorer: Zlatan Ibrahimović, Paris Saint-Germain (26)

Relegated: FC Sochaux-Montbéliard, Valenciennes FC, AC Ajaccio

Promoted: FC Metz, RC Lens, SM Caen

Number: 89
Paris's record points' total, eclipsing the mark set by Lyon in 2006 (84 points).

Quote: "Next year, we want one thing – to win the Champions League."
After receiving Hexagoal – the Ligue 1 trophy – on 17 May, Paris captain Thiago Silva fixed his sights high for 2014/15

Last updated: 28/05/14 9.33CET

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