Football: Can AS Monaco take the crown?

What: AS Monaco FC versus Paris Saint-Germain
Where: Parc des Princes, Paris
When: 9pm CET 22 September 2013

Ever since Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev bought a two-thirds stake in AS Monaco FC at the end of 2011, the football club has been making gigantic strides in the French league, thanks to the acquisition of a host of top-rated players, including Radamel Falcao, João Moutinho, James Rodríguez, Ricardo Carvalho, Éric Abidal and Jérémy Toulalan.

psgmonacoAnd now his investment is to be put to the test as Monaco meet Paris Saint Germain on Sunday 22 September. Legendary Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said of Falcao in a recent interview with Bein Sport: “Falcao is a bit more of a box player, a bit more of a killer than (PSG’s) Cavani… But both of them, I love. And honestly, not to protect one or the other, but it’s very difficult to make a difference between the two. For me they are very similar. They have an animal aspect inside of them. Both of them are animals”

But hanging over the match will be the ongoing dispute regarding, as always, Monaco’s priivileged tax status. A historical accord between Monaco and France has allowed players to avoid income tax, while AS Monaco also pays less to employ them and French nationals.

A meeting between French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet and Rybolovlev in the summer made the French position clear: “The federation wants to sort things out,” according to Le Graet. “It seems difficult to imagine not accepting Monaco in our league, but it also seems necessary, from our point of view and following discussions with Monaco, that the club, given its advantages, eases the situation of the other clubs.

“History shows Monaco have always played in the French league. We find ourselves in an exceptional situation. It’s up to Monaco to make the situation easier for the other clubs. The federal line is clear: smooth the rough edges, find an amicable agreement.”

Current rankings in Ligue 1

Team
GP
W
D
L
GF
GA
PTS
1
5
4
1
0
9
2
13
2
6
4
0
2
8
5
12
3
5
3
2
0
8
3
11
4
5
3
1
1
8
4
10
5
5
2
2
1
5
4
8
6
5
2
2
1
4
3
8
7
5
2
2
1
6
7
8
8
5
2
1
2
8
4
7
9
5
2
1
2
5
4
7
10
5
2
1
2
5
5
7
11
5
2
1
2
7
8
7
12
5
2
1
2
3
4
7
13
5
1
3
1
6
8
6
14
5
2
0
3
3
5
6
15
6
1
3
2
5
8
6
16
5
1
1
3
4
7
4
17
5
1
1
3
3
7
4
18
5
0
3
2
3
5
3
19
5
1
0
4
4
7
3
20
5
0
2
3
3
7
2
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