You’d be forgiven for thinking PSG are the most dominant side ever to grace Ligue 1.
Indeed, the Parisians 12th straight Ligue 1 victory- a 2-1 defeat of second place Lille- set a record for the most consecutive wins in Europe’s top five league.
But to find Ligue 1’s most dominant side you need to go back to the Noughties in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes.
During an unparalleled era of success, stretching from 2002 to 2008, Lyon won seven consecutive Ligue 1 titles. That puts PSG’s current best effort of four consecutive titles, won between 2013 and 2016, to shame.
Like PSG, Lyon were France’s biggest financial superpower during the run. Jacques Santini, Paul Le Guen, Gerard Houllier and Alain Perrin all oversaw title wins before the magic ran out when Bordeaux, powered by Marouane Chamakh and Yoann Gourcuff, broke the streak.
But, putting money aside, how many of Lyon’s 2002-2008 stars would get into Thomas Tuchel’s current PSG starting XI?
Let’s first take a look at Tuchel’s record breakers…
The first man to break into Tuchel’s side is Brazilian centre-back Cris, who comes in for Presnel Kimpembe. Sorry, Presnel.
Cris had a hit and miss start to life in Europe, failing to impress with Bayer Leverkusen, having starred as a youngster for Corinthians.
But a €3.5million move from Cruzeiro in 2004 paid dividends. Cris won four consecutive league titles with Lyon and was named in Ligue 1’s Team of the Year for three of those campaigns.
L’Equipe, notorious for their harsh player ratings, named Cris the best defender in France during the 2005/06 season. Who are we to argue?
Thiago Silva and Thomas Meunier keep their place, but Juan Bernat is replaced by Eric Abidal.
Abdial won three titles following a 2004 move from Lille. As well as making Ligue 1’s Team of the Year on three occasions, Abidal was named in the 2007 UEFA Team of the Year, completing a back four of Dani Alves, Alessandro Nesta and John Terry.
But the left-back’s biggest achievement was a first professional goal in 2004. Abidal’s parents, who had been together for 35 years, got married as a result. Relationship goals.
Moving into midfield, Michael Essien replaces Marquinhos.
Essien was only at Lyon for two seasons, winning consecuitve Ligue 1 titles and back-to-back Trophee des Champions, before moving to Chelsea for what was, at the time, the club’s all-time most expensive transfer fee.
The secret to Essien’s success? Fourteen hours of sleep a day, naturally.
Essien is joined in midfield by Juninho Pernambucano, meaning Marco Verratti is the only member of PSG’s current trio to keep his place.
Juninho’s ability to dispatch free-kicks as if they were six-yard tap-ins made him one of world football’s deadliest set-piece takers during a 20-year career, eight of which were spent at Lyon.
The Brazilian midfielder was a part of all seven title-winning campaigns, with Houllier making him club captain.
Obviously you’ll want to see a YouTube compilation of 75 Juninho free-kicks, accompanied by a relaxing EDM mix.
That’s the lot for Lyon.
None of Karim Benzema, Sidney Govou, Florent Malouda, Sylvain Wiltord, Fred, Elber or Sonny Anderson did enough at Lyon to dislodge PSG’s current attack of Edinson Cavani, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.
Mahamadou Diarra, Gregory Coupet, Anthony Reveillere and Jeremy Toulalan are also unlucky to miss out.
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