This past Sunday saw Ligue 1 close out another great season, with PSG winning the league once more at a canter, but with the Champions League race behind them being contested until the final days of the season, it made for an exciting finale. As always, there are star performers across Ligue 1, and whilst PSG may get the headlines on these shores, some of the other teams in Ligue 1 have some outstanding players who deserve more attention and more praise than they already receive.
Seeing as the Ligue 1 campaign as finished, we felt it would only be right to create our own Ligue 1 Team of the Season here at VivaFootballCalcio, and after careful deliberation, we have come up with the eleven names who we feel lit up France this season, and who stood out amongst the rest. Without further ado, here is the VivaFootballCalcio Ligue 1 Team of the Season.
Goalkeeper: Steve Mandanda
Despite Marseille having a terrible season, Mandanda has been one of the few players at the club who performed at the top level throughout the season. Without Mandanda, Marseille probably would have been involved in the relegation scrap, because he was so important to them not dropping points this season.
Unfortunately for L’OM, Mandanda looks like he will be leaving the Velodrome after the Coupe de France final, but the Frenchman will try his hardest to deliver some silver wear in an otherwise awful campaign for Marseille before leaving the club where he has been a loyal servant for multiple years.
Right Back: Sebastian Corchia
After a slow start for Corchia, he was a huge part in the resurgence towards the end of the season, which saw the northern side reach the Europa League places. The right-back was brilliant at the back from the winter break until the very end, also chipping in with some vital goals and assists.
Much like Mandanda, Corchia is not expected to stay at Lille for very long, with PSG reportedly interested in the full-back, with Thiago Silva wanting Corchia to join him in the French capital next season, possibly to replace Serge Aurier or the departing Gregory Van der Wiel.
Centre Back : Thiago Silva
Whilst I am trying to avoid using a lot of PSG players due to their dominance this season, it was difficult to leave out Thiago Silva, who many acknowledge as one of the best defenders in the world, maybe even the best in the world. His form throughout the season has never dropped once, and has easily been of the Parisiens top players this season and for many years.
His consistent form has earned Silva worldwide praise for his defending, and I can imagine the Brazilian plying his trade at the Parc Des Princes for many more years to come.
Centre Back: Samuel Umtiti
Similarly to Corchia, Umtiti started slowly to the season due to the stuttering form of his club Lyon, but once Bruno Genesio took over from Hubert Fournier in the winter break, Umtiti played like a transformed man. The Frenchman was outstanding from January until the end of the season, and was incredibly instrumental to Lyon gaining automatic qualification to the Champions League next season.
His performances have clearly caught the eye of some of Europe’s finest, with Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and PSG reportedly watching the progress of the Lyon defender, who has come on leaps and bounds this season.
Left Back: Maxwell
The 34-year-old let his contract run out at PSG this season, but his performances this season have shown that age is just a number, and Maxwell could quite clearly still cut it at the very highest level. The Brazilian has been at the top of his game since arriving in Paris, and this season he has shown all the traits of a top class modern full back.
Defensively, Maxwell has been sound as well as popping up with a goal or two, but mainly just providing assists for his teammates, whilst they thank Maxwell for his hard work. It will be a shame to see him leave Ligue 1, but he has been a great servant for the league.
Right Wing: Angel Di Maria
After his disastrous spell at Manchester United, Angel Di Maria returned to his world class best when he arrived in Paris this summer. The hefty price tag put on the former Real Madrid made some feel that maybe Di Maria would feel pressure to perform, but in fact it was quite the opposite.
His speed, his ability and his quality on the ball dazzled Ligue 1, with defenders unable to contain Di Maria, whilst grabbing 10 goals and 13 assists as he helped PSG romp the league. Le Parisiens will be hoping for more of the same next season, especially in Europe.
Central Midfield: Lassana Diarra
Diarra returned to France following his spell in Russia with Lokomotiv Moscow, and was by far and away the best player for a poor Marseille this season. His performances in the midfield at the Stade Velodrome have earned the former Chelsea player a place in the France squad for Euro 2016 as well interest from PSG and many teams across the continent.
Similarly to his Marseille teammate Steve Mandanda, the season would have been a lot worse if Diarra wasn’t in the middle breaking up play, and trying to start attacks. He showed that his spell in Russia hasn’t hindered his top class ability.
Centre Midfield: Vincent Koziello
The youngest player in the Ligue 1 Team of the Season, Koziello has been one of the brightest talents out of a brilliant Nice side who have enjoyed a superb campaign. The 20-year-old has been able to express himself this season and show off his technique, eye for goal and his ability to find a pass no matter the situation.
There is a huge expectation around France that Koziello could become not only one of the best midfielders in Ligue 1, but also across Europe. Hopefully, next season he can push on and push for a place in the French national side.
Left Midfield: Hatem Ben Arfa
What a story this has been! Nice picked up Ben Arfa after his tragic spells at Newcastle and Hull, but even they couldn’t have imagined the impact the Frenchman could have had this season. The rebirth of one of the most misused talents in all of Europe was complete when he was included as one of the back ups for France’s Euro 2016 squad, following his debut season at Nice where he bagged 17 Ligue 1 goals, with some being absolutely amazing.
Nice are resigned to losing Ben Arfa in the summer, but every football just hopes he can keep up this good form no matter where he is playing next season.
Striker: Alexandre Lacazette
I was torn between picking Lacazette or Michy Batshuayi for this spot up front, but I felt that Lacazette’s form in the second half of the season just edged it in the favour of the Lyon hitman. Another slow starter at Lyon benefitted by Bruno Genesio’s management style, Lacazette finished second in the Ligue 1 scoring charts, clocking up 21 goals.
His form towards the back end of the season shows how much of a top class striker Lacazette can be, and being named as a back up to the French Euro 2016 squad sums it up for the 24-year-old.
Striker: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
He arrived a king, and left a legend. Zlatan Ibrahimovic gets the final spot in this Team of the Season, as well as picking up the title of Ligue 1 Player of the Season following his record-breaking season at PSG. The Swede helped PSG score 101 Ligue 1 goals, claiming 38 for himself, which broke a record for the amount of goals scored in a single Ligue 1 campaign.
His career in Ligue 1 and at PSG is unfortunately over, but as Zlatan himself said, he arrive to PSG as a king, and left the French capital a legend. Merci Zlatan.