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Ligue 1

Ligue 1 News

Ligue 1 is France’s top flight and all of the important latest sports news to come out of the famous competition can be found right here. We have the latest Ligue 1 fixtures and reviews for readers to browse through, helping to add vital pieces of information for any football betting on the French top flight.

Our Ligue 1 news articles are up to date with things like the title race and relegation issues. The French Ligue 1 draws plenty of appeal, primarily because of PSG, who possess the spending power to attract top players in the world like Neymar. It remains a good, strong competitive league packed full of history and fantastic rivalries.

Putting Ligue 1 in the limelight

As part of Europe’s “Big 5” leagues, the French Ligue 1 is a popular competition, with its matches being cast around the world. The attraction of the division comes from it being a hotbed for some of the greatest players on the planet to shine their talents in.

PSG, Monaco, Lyon and Marseille are among the common household names to come out of the French top flight. Because of having big power in the transfer market, there has been a shift of power in the modern game to PSG who can trade financial might with the likes of other major European clubs such as Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester City for big signings.

The main race in Ligue 1 is for the championship title, which also guarantees a place in the UEFA Champions League the following season. Ligue 1 is a little different from the rest of the European “Big 5” leagues because only two teams get to qualify for the UEFA Champions League group stage directly. The others (England, Spain, Germany and Italy), have four qualifying teams each, based on UEFA coefficients.

So there is extra pressure on teams in Ligue 1 because of those limited places. However, one extra place enters a team into the qualifying rounds of the Champions League. Two other places from the French league are open for places in UEFA minor club competitions, the UEFA Europa League and Europa Conference league.

About Ligue 1

The French top-flight only became known under its current moniker of Ligue 1 in 2002. Before that, it was simply known as Division 1 for most of its existence. It is the pinnacle of the football tiers in France and it was formed in 1930. The French top-flight has become synonymous with creatively attractive, yet combative and passionate football.

Part of that status came about because of the stylistic approaches from Lyon, Marseille, Monaco and PSG who have usually played with plenty of panache to earn their successes on the domestic front.

The French Ligue 1 consists of 20 teams. Besides the battles for the title and European places that ensue at the top of the table, each season two teams automatically fall down to the second tier, Ligue 2.

The French league, like the German Bundesliga, has a relegation play-off system in place. The team that finishes third from bottom, plays in a two-legged tie against the third-place finishers from Ligue 2 to see who competes in the top flight for the following season.

Great Ligue 1 rivalries

There are major clubs from France that are just household names all around the world. The big two of those are Paris St Germain and Monaco. They have had a long-standing rivalry between them because of them being the two most successful clubs in the country. That rivalry really was sparked by spending power initially.

Meetings between PSG and Monaco, be it in the league or any other competition, are always a huge pull. It’s one of the top outcomes to look out for in Ligue 1 results. But that is not the biggest rivalry match that France has. That honour falls to PSG v Marseille, a match which boasts the name “Le Classique”. That in and of itself paints a very big picture of just how important meetings between the two of them are.

The key rivalry matches from Ligue 1:

● Marseille v PSG
● Lyon v Marseille
● Marseille v Saint-Etienne
● Nante v Saint-Etienne
● Saint-Etienne v Lyon
● Lille v Lens

Looking back at the bigger rivalry matches that exist in Ligue 1, the name of Marseille crops up quite often. Les Phoceens are among one of the most successful teams in the country and have a rich history stretching back over 120 years. So they have had a long time to forge some big rivalries with other clubs. Very often, they were the team that everyone else envied and wanted to topple.

Interestingly in France, there are not a lot of direct city derby matches that get a chance to play out in the top flight. In fact, it’s not a common occurrence at all. There’s not a big Paris derby for example. More often the big derby matches come down to regional rivalries instead such as the Derby du Nord (Derby of the North) between Lens and Lille.

Ligue 1’s “Big Teams”

We have already touched upon the big teams of Ligue 1. It is, in terms of success, finances and support, PSG, Marseille and Monaco. But in terms of possessing some of the biggest history in the French league, Saint-Etienne is right up there too.

They were a dominant side through the 1960s and for a chunk of the 1970s as well, becoming the first team to win Ligue 1 ten times. Saint-Etienne achieved that with their success at the end of the 1981 campaign. Since the turn of the century, it has largely been Lyon and PSG who have dominated the Ligue 1 title race.

Teams to have won Ligue 1 at least five times:

● PSG
● Marseille
● Monaco
● Saint-Etienne
● Nantes
● Lyon
● Lille
● Nice

Just to highlight the competitive nature of Ligue 1 there have been twelve different teams who have lifted the championship on more than one occasion. Eight of those championship-winning teams have won it at least five times.

A brief history of Ligue 1

The first Ligue 1 season (called the National in its first season) was played in 1932. That was the first professional season in France, two years after the French Football Federation decided to implement professionalism in the country.

Right from the start Ligue 1 had twenty teams participating, unlike other members of the European “Big 5” who started with smaller numbers and gradually built up. The initial format was not a straight one-league deal though. It was split into two even groups, with the winner of each group meeting to play the final.

The first-ever winner was Olympique Lillois who beat Cannes in the inaugural final. The bottom three teams from each group were relegated to Ligue 2. A promotion and relegation system between the two leagues followed for the next season and the name of the competition changed to Division 1.

The full complement of 20 teams in the top flight returned for the start of the 1965 campaign and the competition changed names once again, this time to Ligue 1.

So now the full status of 20 teams in Ligue 1 still stands, leaving every club entering a season with a total of 38 fixtures to play. The French league runs from August to the following May.

Important Ligue 1 News and Statistics

With the league title, survival from relegation and UEFA club competition places up for grabs each season, Ligue 1 continues to have a huge attraction across the world. Ligue 1 fixtures are generally spread out right across the weekend, with Friday night matches and Sunday fixtures included.

Throw midweek Ligue 1 fixtures into the mix as well, then that is a steady flow of matches from the top flight. Our information-packed articles from Ligue 1 analyse completed matches and look ahead to forthcoming fixtures with team news. That can help readers with betting options, by providing important form, statistics and Ligue 1 results.

Ligue 1 FAQs

Who is the Ligue 1 leading goalscorer of all time?

The player that holds the title of being the top scorer in the history of Ligue 1 is Argentina’s Delio Onnis who tallied 299 goals in 449 games in the competition. He played for four teams in the league including Monaco and Toulon before hanging up his boots in 1986.

Who are some of the most famous players to play in Ligue 1?

When it comes to great French domestic players in Ligue 1 you can think about names like Didier Deschamps, Marcel Desailly, Laurent Blanc, Zinedine Zidane, Karim Benzema and current star and World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe.

Because of the appeal of the league and clubs having plenty of clout in the transfer market, there have been stars of the world game that have played in the French top-flight too.

Some World Stars who have played in Ligue 1:

● Zlatan Ibrahimovic
● Eden Hazard
● Thiago Silva
● Cesc Fabregas
● Juninho
● Marco Verratti
● Neymar

Why do Monaco feature in Ligue 1?

Technically Ligue 1 is a cross-border competition because it includes AS Monaco. They are from the principality of Monaco which is on the French Riviera and it borders France on three sides. The club received an invitation from the French Football Federation to turn professional in 1933 and they started life in the second tier. Monaco was relegated to amateur status at the end of their first season and didn’t get it back until 1948.