AS Monaco's Best XI if they hadn't sold their players
Since being founded in 1924, AS Monaco has had a storied history. One of the most successful clubs in French football with 8 league titles and 5 domestic cups to its name, the club from the principality has also been a significant force in European competition, finishing as runners-up in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1992 and the UEFA Champions League in 2004, besides making the knockout rounds of Europe's premier competitions on several occasions.
The club has seen several iconic players and managers over the years, such as Arsene Wenger, Didier Deschamps, Jean Tigana, Claudio Ranieri and Claude Puel at the helm and Thierry Henry and Rafael Marquez on the pitch. In recent years, the club has focused on bringing through their home-grown talent and has seen great success, with the players improving the club before generating huge profits. With a mix of such players, as well as those simply passing through, here is a team that Monaco could have potentially had today had they kept all of these players.
Goalkeeper: Danijel Subasic
One of two current Monaco players in this team, Danijel Subasic joined the club in January 2012, when it was in Ligue 2 and made 17 appearances that season, even scoring a goal in the last game of the campaign. In the 2012-13 season, he played a crucial role in helping Les Monegasques gain promotion back to Ligue 1, missing only 3 games all year.
Subasic was also a key player when Monaco won the club's first league title for 17 years, in the 2016-17 season, a campaign in which they also made the Champions League semi-finals. He was named Ligue 1's goalkeeper of the year in 2017, and, the following year helped Croatia reach the final of the FIFA World Cup, receiving widespread praise for his performances, most notably from legendary German keeper Oliver Kahn.
Right Back: Fabinho
Although primarily a defensive midfielder, ex-Monaco and current Liverpool man Fabinho has often played at right-back throughout his career and that is where he fits into our XI. Prior to his time in Monaco, Fabinho was on the books of Real Madrid, regularly featuring for their Castilla side and even playing once for the senior side, registering an assist.
Now a Champions League winner with Liverpool, the closest Fabinho got in his 5 years at Monaco was the semi-final stage in 2017. He will be looking to add the Premier League to his trophy cabinet come the end of this season, given the Merseyside club's excellent form this year and the role he has had to play in it.
Centre Back: Kamil Glik
He may have been at the club for only 3 years, but Kamil Glik's arrival at Monaco coincided with that 2016-17 season, one of the best in the club's recent history. Adding a physical presence to the club's backline as well as excellent leadership on and off the pitch, the Polish international has proved an indispensable part of the French club's success.
Glik's career trajectory has been somewhat strange, starting in Poland with Silesia Lubomia before moving to Horadada in Spain and then on to Real Madrid's C team, before returning to Poland with Piast Gliwice. He seemed to have found a home in Torino, where he played for 5 years between 2011 and 2016, but then moved to Monaco, where he has been given his due far more than before. With the club currently struggling, Glik will be hoping to put them back where they belong before he leaves.
Centre Back: Abdou Diallo
Abdou Diallo played only 10 games for Monaco's senior side, but what he has gone on to achieve since leaving undoubtedly warrants his inclusion in this team. He joined Monaco's academy in 2011, aged 15 and spent a total of 6 years at the club before trading Ligue 1 for the Bundesliga in a move to Mainz in 2017.
He spent just one season there, as Borussia Dortmund pounced in 2018 to bring him to the Signal Iduna Park, where he would again spend just one year as Paris Saint-Germain brought him back to Ligue 1 in the summer of 2019. He has made 14 league appearances for the defending champions thus far this season and will hope to lift numerous trophies with the Parisians for years to come.
Left Back: Benjamin Mendy
Another player who was a vital part of the title triumph in 2017, left-back Benjamin Mendy was seen as the future of the full-back position during his time at Monaco, a supposition that was further strengthened by his move to Pep Guardiola's Manchester City at the end of that season.
Moving up and down the left flank with power and skill, Mendy started extremely well in England before a knee injury caused his form to drop and it could be argued that the Frenchman has not quite been the same since. Despite all these problems, he has still been extremely reliable when called upon and has won the lot at City, except the Champions League, which he will be hoping to add to his trophy cabinet sooner rather than later.
Central Midfielder: Youri Tielemans
Still only 22, Youri Tielemans spent just 18 months at Monaco, but his talent is certainly deserving of a place in our team. Tielemans has been tipped for greatness ever since his days at RSC Anderlecht, where he became the club's fourth-youngest player ever when he made his debut at the age of just 16 in 2013.
An extremely talented midfield orchestrator, Tielemans' move to Monaco may not have been the success many expected, but he did prove to be an important player for them in the 2017-18 season. Earlier this year, Tielemans moved to Leicester City on an initial loan deal which was made permanent in the summer and is now a vital cog in Brendan Rodgers' side which is taking the Premier League by storm.
Central Midfielder: Yaya Toure
It is something that is often forgotten among the annals of footballing history, but Manchester City and Ivory Coast legend Yaya Toure did in fact, represent AS Monaco for a solitary season, in 2006-07.
He was signed by the French club after impressing at the 2006 FIFA World Cup for the Ivory Coast and endured difficulties initially as manager Laszlo Boloni refused to play him in his preferred midfield position. In the second half of the season, however, under new manager Laurent Banide, Toure helped keep the club out of the relegation zone and went on to join Barcelona in the summer of 2007. Toure currently plies his trade for Chinese second division side Qingdao Huanghai.
Right Winger: Bernardo Silva
Like Benjamin Mendy, Bernardo Silva was also a part of Monaco's "Class of 2017" and also moved to Manchester City that summer. Still just 25 years old, the skilful Portuguese international has more than enough time to enjoy a legendary career and all signs point towards him achieving such a status.
Equally proficient in a more central role, Bernardo relies on his excellent ball control and movement to cause problems for opposition defenders and has often proved the X-factor for Pep Guardiola when it comes to unlocking tightly packed defences. His time at Monaco saw him play a more expansive role, but an equally crucial one on the right-wing, progressing the ball in wide areas before supplying the lethal frontmen. He has also, in recent seasons, established himself as a key player in the national set-up for Portugal, lifting the UEFA Nations League trophy in 2019.
Attacking Midfielder: James Rodriguez
James Rodriguez is another player who spent just one season at Monaco, in 2013-14, after their promotion from Ligue 2 as he arrived after 3 years with FC Porto in Portugal. He would move to Real Madrid in 2014 after impressing at the World Cup with Colombia.James' time at Real Madrid has been a strange one, often being shifted in and out of the side, even going on a 2-year loan spell at Bayern Munich, who decided not to sign him permanently. Currently back in the Spanish capital, James has made just 5 starts thus far this season and his future at the club is doubtful. However, were he to leave, he would be an excellent purchase for any team in Europe.
Left Winger: Kylian Mbappe
There isn't much to say about Kylian Mbappe that hasn't already been said. Coming through the youth ranks at Monaco before breaking into the first team in 2016-17, Mbappe has scaled new heights in the footballing world, considering his tender age.
A World Cup winner before the age of 20, with a goal in the final and being widely recognised as the face of football for years to come, Mbappe is now plying his trade for his hometown club, Paris Saint-Germain, after joining from Monaco in a deal which saw him become the second-most expensive player ever. It is no exaggeration to say that Mbappe, along with Thierry Henry, might end up becoming one of the best players to ever pull on a Monaco shirt.
Striker: Radamel Falcao
For most football fans of this era, Radamel Falcao is the player one associates most with AS Monaco. Having been at the club between 2013 and 2019 before moving to Galatasaray this summer, 'El Tigre' has given his all for the shirt and has been a massive success at the club.
His reputation may have taken a hit after failed loan spells with Manchester United and Chelsea in the Premier League, but he has been magnificent every time he has played in Monaco colours. A goal poacher supreme, Falcao's record speaks for itself, with 83 goals in 139 games for the principality club. Considered a legend of the Colombian national team as well, Falcao will always be remembered fondly in France and indeed, by everyone who watched him play.Published 22 Dec 2019, 19:29 IST