Formerly known as Division 1, France’s Ligue 1 is the top division within the country for professional football and has since become one of the biggest in European football, despite being relatively new.
Initially, football was not considered too popular in France, yet it soon boomed in popularity. There has become a strong following of support in recent years, and competition has continued to grow and get stronger with each season that takes place.
History & Teams
Ligue 1 was initially known as Division 1 up to 2002, which is when it was rebranded as what it is known throughout the world today. The original format and structure started back in 1932, just two years after playing professional football was legalised by the country.
There have been several different winners throughout the competition’s history, although it will hardly come as a surprise that Paris Saint-Germain is one of the football clubs to be near the top of the overall winners.
However, as of the 20/21 Ligue 1 campaign, they are only second on the list – alongside Olympique de Marseille with nine titles. The leaders, who have 10, are Saint-Etienne, although it has been a while since they won their last championship, back in 1981.
Since the division was rebranded as the Ligue 1 competition, Olympique de Lyonnais has been the most successful, but PSG is hot on its tails.
Best Players & Managers
There have been a number of impressive footballers and managers to have come out of France’s Ligue 1 in recent and past history, with some of the world’s best having played for clubs in the division.
Legendary footballers such as Zinedine Zidane, Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Eden Hazard, Michel Platini, Didier Deschamps, Fabien Barthez, Laurent Blanc and Eric Cantona have all played in the competition. Whilst recent editions have seen the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Neymar Jr, Angel Di Maria, Thiago Silva, Eduardo Camavinga, Memphis Depay and many, many others.
There have also been many top managers to have managed in Ligue 1 over the years, with Thomas Tuchel, Mauricio Pochettino, Unai Emery, Laurent Blanc, and Carlo Ancelotti have all been a manager of PSG recently. In contrast, other individuals have included the likes of Arsene Wenger, Gerard Houllier, Claude Puel and Paul Le Guen, as well as Leonardo Jardim.
Historic & Memorable moments
While PSG dominated much of France’s Ligue 1 in recent memory, Leonardo Jardim managed to guide his AS Monaco side to a famous league championship in 2016/17 after he ended a four-year winning streak by the Parisians. That one year they missed out on, though, appeared to light the fire under PSG, as they have won each championship since (as of the 20/21 campaign).
Mickael Landreau holds the record for the most appearances in France’s Ligue 1. He managed to amass 618 appearances for four different clubs (Nantes, PSG, Lille and Bastia) over a career that lasted 18 years between 1996 and 2014.
The competition’s top goalscorer is Delio Onnis, an Argentine forward that managed to net 299 goals in 449 appearances that he made between 1971 and 1986 for Monaco, Reims, Tours and Toulon.