What a season it has been in France! Monaco will become the seventh different Ligue 1 champion in 10 years, surprisingly deposing a Paris Saint-Germain side that started the season slowly and was unable to make up lost ground.
The thrilling football of the champions elect has been one of great stories around Europe this term, but the exploits of a very fine Nice side should not be overlooked either as they stayed in the title race until injury problems took their toll at the last.
With investment set to come in Marseille and Lille over the summer, next season is set up perfectly; but before considering how that might go, Goal looks at the star men from 2016-17.
YOANN CARDINALE (Nice):
Surprisingly overlooked for the shortlist of Ligue 1 Goalkeeper of the Year, Nice shot-stopper Cardinale has been a reliable presence for Lucien Favre’s men between the sticks. Boasts a save percentage higher than anyone else in the division and has been solid on the big occasions, notably enjoying a terrific game as his side defeated PSG away from home in April to prolong their title dream.
DJIBRIL SIDIBE (Monaco):
The full-back has shown his versatility over the course of the campaign, featuring on both the right and left of the defence. While he stands accused at times of focusing too much on the attacking side of his game, this style fits in perfectly with a Monaco side that places a premium on going forward. One of the most thrilling players in the league.
KAMIL GLIK (Monaco):
The departure of Ricardo Carvalho last summer left Monaco searching for an experienced, strong centre-back. They found their man in the form of the Poland international, whose steady hand has also helped developed Jemerson alongside him. Had a happy habit of popping up with some important goals, too, scoring six times in the league.
THIAGO SILVA (PSG):
His campaign will be blighted by the 6-1 defeat in Barcelona, but in Ligue 1 this was another fine season from the classy Brazilian centre-back, who continues to read the game as well as anyone.
Monaco’s Benjamin Mendy is unlucky to miss out in this position, but Guingamp full-back Marcal has been one of the quiet stars of France’s top flight this season. The 28-year-old Brazilian, who is in Brittany on loan from Benfica, has been a potent offensive weapon for his side, creating eight goals – more than any other player in his position.
BERNARDO SILVA (Monaco):
An absolute joy to watch, Bernardo Silva has been one of the classiest performers anywhere in Europe this season. Reliant on his technical abilities more than his physique, the 22-year-old is a throwback to the days before football became so biased towards power. That he survives - and even thrives - is testimony to his silky touch and vision. He was the conductor of a wonderful Monaco side.
JEAN MICHAEL SERI (Nice):
Jean Michael Seri has been likened to N’Golo Kante due to his energy, but in truth there is so much more to his game. He is a more versatile and more attack-minded presence and came to the fore for his Nice side when they lost both Alassane Plea and Wylan Cyprien due to long-term injury problems. Scored six and laid on nine more.
MARCO VERRATTI (PSG):
Was unable to inspire his PSG side to the title once more, but the Italy international midfielder continues to enjoy a strong presence in the heart of the capital side’s midfield. His passing repertoire is outstanding, as he displayed in the 5-0 win over Saint-Etienne with a glorious delivery from which Lucas Moura added his side’s second.
THOMAS LEMAR (Monaco):
Another of the great success stories at Stade Louis II this season, the left winger has enjoyed a tremendous first season in Monaco after arriving from Caen last summer. He has scored nine goals and laid on a further eight, winning a place in Didier Deschamps’ France squad as a result of his performances.
EDINSON CAVANI (PSG):
PSG’s play was all designed with Cavani in mind, yet it was still some achievement for the striker to score at the rate of a goal per game. Began the season a touch slowly after injury, but once his confidence arrived the goals started to flow. His movement is second to none and his power in the air is formidable.
KYLIAN MBAPPE (Monaco):
The revelation of world football over the course of the last campaign has been Mbappe, whose incredible scoring exploits have set him up as the game’s next great superstar. At just 18 years old, he has shown he has many strengths to his game – and not simply putting the ball in the net. His assist for Bernardo Silva in the 3-0 win over Lille was world class, while his 15 league goals have all been taken with a cool head, typified by the strike against Saint-Etienne that sealed the title.