By Tim Stannard
Ligue 1 is more than Messi and Mbappé, it’s also where you can find the superstars of tomorrow, says Ligue 1’s Director of Partnerships and Global Network, Yoann Godin
What is the number one reason to watch Ligue 1?
The worldwide stars we have, Messi, Mbappe and Neymar are key. But it’s also all those players who have the capacity to become the stars of tomorrow. We saw the results in the World Cup and our ability to develop young players. If you want to see the next Messi or Neymar, the chances are high that it is in our championship. You also have those players coming from North America like Timothy Weah or Jonathan David at Lille.
While PSG are always strong, Lille and Monaco have won Ligue 1 in recent years. Is the title race more open than the perception?
PSG have the biggest chance to win but there are some very good teams doing a great job. The competition is there. We all thought that with Messi, Neymar and Mbappe, PSG would be 10, 12 points ahead. But as you can see today it is getting closer. I don’t know why we always say that about Ligue 1. Look at Juventus in Serie A or Bayern Munich. Even in Spain it is between two teams at the end of the day.
Ligue 1 is also producing a record-breaking number of goals...
We’ve been close to averaging three goals per game which is amongst the highest in Europe. We have a group of new coaches that are all focused on the beautiful game. It has been a big change for us over the past two to three years. It’s moving in the right direction.
What can the fans of Ligue 1 see happening in the USA?
We are developing a marketing program called Ligue 1 Touch. It brings a piece of Ligue 1 to important countries like the USA. For ten days, Ligue 1 organized soccer centers across the US with viewing parties, and prizes from Ligue 1 and a youth tournament on Martin Luther King Day.
We brought over some French coaches to look at the US players in each age group to identify the MVP. We had over 2000 kids from eight to 15 that were able to show their skills to French coaches. The idea is to keep on coming and bring a team at some point with an official game or a friendly tournament.
Kylian Mbappe really likes the US, he likes to go the basketball games, and he’s a good ambassador for us!
Fact-File: Life Begins in Ligue 1:
Didier Drogba (Le Mans)
Eric Cantona (Auxerre)
Thierry Henry (Monaco)
Zinedine Zidane (Cannes)
Eden Hazard (Lille)
Karim Benzema (Lyon)
Franck Ribery (Boulogne)
Kylian Mbappe (Monaco)
Riyad Mahrez (Le Havre)
Aurelien Tchouameni (Bordeaux)
Ferland Mendy (Le Havre)
N'Golo Kante (Boulogne)
Eduardo Camavinga (Rennes)
Jules Kounde (Bordeaux)
Ousmane Dembele (Rennes)
William Saliba (Saint Etienne)