How Monaco are redeeming themselves through faith in youth


leonardo jardim and player

AS Monaco have been a flickering force in the French top flight and European football over the past two decades.

At their highest, they were making an appearance in the 2004 Champions League final and when matters got excruciatingly low, the club suffered relegation from Ligue 1 in 2011.

Monaco were previously labelled the Manchester City of French football after embracing the ownership of billionaire owners who promised to wipe off the stains of mid-table mediocrity by spending lavishly on marquee signings.

That was when Radamel Falcao first arrived along with the acquisitions of James Rodriguez and Jao Moutinho.

However, unlike Manchester City, the French outfit were never rewarded for their heavy investment in the transfer market and before the dust even settled, their financial power had quickly faded while star players jumped ship to bigger clubs.

The period between 2012 and 2014 was a particularly worrying one for Monaco but then came Leonardo Jardim who gradually turned matters around at the Stade Louis II.

In a fashion similar to how Pep Guardiola revolutionized Barcelona following his appointment in 2008, Jardim used faith in youth to begin the healing process of the club.

Monaco resorted to the philosophy of handing players from the club’s academy a chance to impress and that slightly modified the tactics of the team.

They went from a side eager to have a go at the opposition to a team which rather survived by staying compact and organized due to the obvious lack of resources.

Clever transfer moves like the signing of Dimitar Berbatov and the return of Radamel Falcao later on, added a vital amount of experience to the attacking unit.

By the 2015/16 season, Monaco were beginning to gain an identity despite the loss of Anthony Martial and their ability to keep some pressure on a Paris Saint-Germain side led by Zlatan Ibrahimovic was an encouraging sight.

Therefore, it was not entirely surprising to witness them set the pace in Ligue 1 as soon as PSG were weakened by the departure of the Swedish goalscorer.

This season, the emergence of youngsters like Fabinho, Thomas Lemar and most notably Kylian Mbappe has caught the world off guard and that is why Monaco are still in the Champions League with not too long left in the season.

It has been a well calculated rebuilding of a squad based on youth and for Jardim, that was the only to take the club forward after their fall from grace.