Sorry David Luiz, These Are The REAL Ligue 1 End Of Season Awards


Unlike in the Premier League, Ligue 1 in France has one main awards ceremony. The UNFP trophies handed out last Sunday are used as the indicator as to who has enjoyed the best and most successful campaigns this season.

Abraham Lincoln once said that you can please some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time…in France they tend to please one team all of the time and forget about everyone else.

These awards are voted for by the players in France, but as soon as you name David Luiz in the best back four of the season, you instantly lose all credibility and your decisions are instantly invalid.

Despite Paris Saint-Germain's dominance, they don't deserve to have eight players in the Ligue XI, especially with so many other teams doing so well this season. Here are some alternative awards.

 

Coach of the Year: Stephane Moulin, Angers

FBL-FRA-LIGUE1-ANGERS-MARSEILLE : News Photo

Laurent Blanc has set a new points record in Ligue 1 this season, he has won four domestic trophies and reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League - all fantastic achievements, but you have to question whether this is because of the French boss, or due to PSG's financial dominance over every other club in the country.

Stephane Moulin of Angers has taken a team of Ligue 2 unknowns and journeymen and turned them into an effective, well-drilled machine. At one stage this season SCO were second in the league and although they were still closer to relegation than PSG, for the newly promoted side to do that, plus be the first team to shut out the Parisian giants this season, is incredible.

They lost Ludovic Butelle and Abdoul Camara, two key members of their initial success in January and continued to motor in the top half of the table. They may have missed out on European football, but Moulin's achievements on a shoestring budget far outweighs anything Blanc has managed this term.

 

Goalkeeper of the Year: Vincent Enyeama, Lille

FBL-FRA-LIGUE1-LYON-LILLE : News Photo

Handing the award to Marseille's Steve Mandanda makes sense. It's the Frenchman's last season at the Stade Velodrome, he has been a magnificent servant to the club and although they are likely to finish in the bottom half of the table, without him, relegation could have been a realistic possibility.

However, l'OM still conceded 41 goals and when you compare that to the 27 goals that have found their way past Lille's Vincent Enyeama and it's hard to look past the Nigerian shot-stopper.

LOSC's defensive record is only second to PSG and the 'keeper was a huge part of their run of six-straight league wins - something they didn't even manage when they won the league in 2011.

Just like Mandanda, without Enyeama, Lille would have struggled to finish in the top half, but the Nigerian deserves the award on his performances, rather than for sentimentality.

 

Player and Young Player of the Year: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, PSG, and Ousmane Dembele, Rennes

FBL-FRA-LIGUE1-PSG-RENNES : News Photo

Two awards that the UNFP players did get right are the Young Player and Player of the Year. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was handed the main award of the evening and the day after he scored his 35th goal of the campaign, it's hard to argue.

The Swede has looked hungrier, fitter and deadlier than ever this season. He has been PSG's main striker and has lived up to all of his own hype. Only Angel Di Maria has created more goals than Zlatan and he is undoubtedly the best player in France.

Ousmane Dembele of Rennes was named as the Young Player of the year, and as previously mentioned in this column, he has enjoyed a sensational breakout campaign. At 18 years and 11 months he is the youngest player to have scored 12 goals in the Top 5 European leagues this season, leading him to be linked with moves to Borussia Dortmund, Barcelona and Manchester United amongst others.

 

The Alternative Ligue 1 XI

As well as awarding Ruddy Buquet, the man who gifted PSG a controversial goal in the Coupe de la Ligue final win over Lille, it was a busy night for the Champions - with eight of their squad name in the Ligue 1 XI.

Ibrahimovic, Di Maria - with 15 assists and Thiago Silva, all merit their place in the team, you can make a strong case for Maxwell at left-back too, but four is the very limit. To include Marco Verratti, Blaise Matuidi, Serge Aurier and of course, Luiz, is an insult to the rest of the league.

There is no doubt that Verratti is perhaps the best midfielder in France, but he's not had the most enjoyable campaign. Injured against Real Madrid in November, he has only started three games in the league since. There is absolutely no way his performances deserve a place in this XI, not this season.

Maxime Gonalons, Lyon's captain and inspirational leader. Corentin Tolisso, playing beside the 27-year-old, after coming back from early season criticism has been excellent. Cheikh N'Doye, nine goals and three assists as a crucial part of Angers' success or any three of Nice's midfield trio: Vincent Koziello, Nampalys Mendy and Jean Michel Seri, could have earned a place in the XI in space of Verratti and Matuidi.

FBL-FRA-LIGUE1-BORDEAUX-ANGERS : News Photo

Lassana Diarra was named alongside the PSG duo and he would be a lock in most people's team. The former Arsenal and Chelsea man has turned his career around at OM and will likely start for France in the Euros this summer.

Upfront, Hatem Ben Arfa is undoubtedly the media friendly name to put in beside Ibrahimovic and Di Maria, but it's easy to forget the flip side to the former Newcastle United talisman. With 17 goals and five assists, Ben Arfa has been crucial to this Nice team rise up the table, but the spell where he went 13 games without a goal or an assist seems to get lost in the media scrum.

Spare a though for Valere Germain. The Frenchman, on loan from Monaco has been just as sensational to Claude Puel's side. On Saturday, drawing 0-0 with Saint-Etienne, who were also down to 9 men, it wasn't HBA that stepped up, but it was the 26-year-old. Scoring twice in the last five minutes, he sealed the 2-0 win and took his tally to 14 goals for the season - he also has six assists.

FBL-FRA-LIGUE1-NICE-SAINT-ETIENNE : News Photo

Alexandre Lacazette can feel a little overshadowed too. His amazing form under Bruno Genesio has been unstoppable, he has 11 goals in his last nine games, has 21 for the season and is the first Frenchman since 1998 to score 20+ goals in consecutive Ligue 1 campaigns.

His hat-trick on Saturday helped Lyon demolish Monaco and all but confirmed Champions League football at Parc OL next season - but let's pick the player that has more clips on Vine.

Here's how the XI should have looked: 

Vincent Enyeama (Lille), Sebastien Corchia (Lille), Thiago Silva (PSG), Samuel Umtiti (Lyon), Maxwell (PSG), Lassana Diarra (Marseille), Cheikh N’Doye (Angers), Vincent Koziello (Nice), Angel Di Maria (PSG), Ousmane Dembele (Rennes), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (PSG).

 

Read more from Andrew Gibney