Association Sportive de Monaco Football Club SA

AS Monaco

Founded: 1919

Head Coach: Niko Kovac

Owners: Monaco Sport Investment Ltd (66.67%); House of Grimaldi (33.33%)

President: Dmitry Rybolovlev

Captain: Wissam Ben Yedder

Nicknames: Les Monégasques (The Monégasques), Les Rouges et Blancs (The Red and Whites)

Stadium: Stade Louis II

Capacity: 18,500+

Rivals: OGC Nice

Country: Monaco but plays football in the French League

League: Ligue 1


AS Monaco, commonly referred to as just Monaco, is a club based in Monaco that plays its football in France’s first division of football – Ligue 1. It was founded on 1 August 1919 as a unification of a number of local clubs based in France and the Principality of Monaco.

Monaco is one of the most successful clubs in French football having won 8 first division league titles and 5 Coupe de France cups. The team also reached the final of the UEFA Champions League in 2004, which they lost to Portugal’s FC Porto.

The team plays its home matches at the Stade Louis II in Fontvieille and shares a derby rivalry with Nice that is called the Derby de la Côte d’Azur.


History of AS Monaco

Foundation years

AS Monaco was founded as its present form of Association Sportive de Monaco on 23 August 1924 after being originally established on 1 August 1919.

The club spent its early years in the amateur regional divisions of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region and started becoming successful very early on to move up divisions in the 1920s. It was in 1933 when the club received an invitation from the French Football Federation (FFF) to join them and turn professional, which Monaco gladly accepted.

It was not smooth sailing, however for the Red and Whites as they were relegated from the second division of French football, back into the amateur leagues. Monaco managed to make it back into the professional divisions of French football in 1948. With consistent performances, the team finally made it into the top tier of French football for the first time in 1953.

Lucien Leduc and Monaco’s First Period of Success

Monaco won its first professional trophy in 1960 under head coach Lucien Leduc as the club won the Coupe de France by beating Saint-Etienne in the final, 4-2. The club rode on this momentum by conquering France to win the French League for the first time in its history in 1961. This led to automatic qualification for the European Cup.

Monaco’s success under Leduc continued as he led the team to more success with the domestic double in 1963 as they won the League and Cup.

After winning 2 league titles and 3 domestic cups, Lucien Leduc left Monaco in 1963. What followed was a barren run for the side and they kept alternating between the 1st and 2nd divisions of football for over a decade.

In 1976, after Jean-Louis Campore became the Chairperson of Monaco, he brought back Lucien Leduc as head coach for the Monegasques and that paid instant dividends. Leduc led AS Monaco to instant promotion into the first division and they went on to win the league the following season in 1978. Leduc decided to leave once again, the following season as Lucien Muller and Gerard Banide took over.

Unfortunately for the club, both of them failed to oversee Monaco’s success as the club started declining once again.

The early 1980s saw a steady stream of successes in national competitions. Monaco won a title almost every other year; the Coupe de France in 1980 and 1985, the French Championship in 1982, was Coupe de France finalist in 1984.

In the 1985–86 season, Monaco hammered Bordeaux 9–0, one of the biggest wins in club history.

Disappointingly for Monaco fans, the club could not translate its domestic leadership into European success.

Up to this point, Monaco had never passed the first round of any European competition. Monaco lost to Dundee United (1981), CSKA Sofia twice (1982 and 1984) and Universitatea Craiova (1985).

1990s: Wenger and Tigana

In 1986, former Ajax manager Ștefan Kovács, who succeeded Rinus Michels and honed his Total Football ideals with the Dutch champions, came out of a three-year “retirement” to manage Monaco, but even he could not bring them success.

With the club facing a second barren spell, they signed Arsène Wenger, who had hitherto been relatively unknown, managing Nancy without much success.

Wenger’s reign saw the club enjoy one of its most successful periods, with several inspired signings, including George Weah, Glenn Hoddle, Jürgen Klinsmann, and Youri Djorkaeff. Youth team policies produced future World Cup winners Emmanuel Petit, Lilian Thuram and Thierry Henry.

Under Wenger, they won the league in his first season in charge (1988) and the Coupe de France in 1991, with the club consistently competing in the latter stages of the European Cup and regularly challenging for the league title.

The club could have had even greater success in this period, as it emerged in 1993 that bitter rivals Marseille had indulged in match-fixing and numerous improprieties, a view that Wenger had long held.

In 1994, after being blocked by the Monaco board from opening discussions with German powerhouse Bayern Munich for their vacant managerial post after being shortlisted for the role, Wenger was released from the club, several weeks after the post had already been filled.

After Wenger’s departure, the club went on to record two further league championships; under Jean Tigana in 1997 and under Claude Puel in 2000. However, as the decade came to an end, rumours were surfacing that the club was facing numerous financial difficulties.

In 2003, these financial problems came to a head. Despite finishing second in the league, the club was relegated to Ligue 2 by the French Professional League for amassing a €50 million ($68 million) debt.

Whilst this was reduced on appeal to a ban on purchasing players, it was enough to force President Jean-Louis Campora, who had been in charge for 28 years, to step aside.

He was replaced by Pierre Svara, an administrator considered to be close to the principality’s princely family but with no footballing experience.

The following season saw remarkable success on the field, given the club’s financial strife. The team, coached by former French national team captain Didier Deschamps and featuring stalwarts such as Fernando Morientes, Ludovic Giuly, Jérôme Rothen and Dado Pršo, finished third in Ligue 1 and enjoyed a remarkable run to the final of the UEFA Champions League, beating Real Madrid and Chelsea along the way.

However, despite the on-field success, the 2003–04 season was the club’s worst financial year in its history. Within 12 months, Deschamps had left as coach and Svara had been replaced by Michel Pastor.

Relegation and takeover

With Francesco Guidolin hired to replace Deschamps, one of Pastor’s first tasks was to hold on to the players who had turned the club into one of the best in Europe. However, he failed to convince them to stay and their replacements were unable to replicate previous successes.

Guidolin lasted only one year, before being replaced by assistant coach Laurent Banide who, in turn, only lasted a year, before being replaced by Brazilian Ricardo Gomes.

In 2008, after four years at the club featuring six coaches and only mid-table finishes, Pastor left the club amid severe criticism of his management skills.

In 2008, Jérôme de Bontin, a leading shareholder of the club since 2003, took charge of the club, promising a complete shake-up.

Under his reign as president, the club brought in players such as Park Chu-young and Freddy Adu, but they did not find much success on the pitch, going through a torrid season and only managing a mid-table finish.

De Bontin resigned at the end of the season, replaced by banker Étienne Franzi and a new board of directors.

In July 2009, Ricardo Gomes was replaced by former Cannes and Rennes coach Guy Lacombe, inheriting a youthful squad featuring numerous highly lauded youth team prospects, including Cédric Mongongu, Serge Gakpé, Vincent Muratori, Frédéric Nimani, Nicolas N’Koulou, Park Chu-young, Yohan Mollo and Yohann Thuram-Ulien.

Lacombe led Monaco to eighth place in Ligue 1 in his first season in charge, but he was unable to replicate this performance in his second season and was sacked in January 2011, with Monaco in 17th place in Ligue 1.

He was replaced by former coach Laurent Banide, who was unable to turn around the club’s fortunes; Monaco finished the 2010–11 season in 18th, thus becoming relegated to Ligue 2.

In December 2011, 66.67% of the club was sold to the Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev (via a trust under his daughter Ekaterina’s name) while the club were bottom of Ligue 2.

Banide was sacked due to this poor start to the 2011–12 season and was replaced by Italian manager Marco Simone. Although he lifted the club to eighth by the end of the season, the club’s board targeted promotion for the upcoming season and so fired him and appointed his compatriot Claudio Ranieri, whose attacking style of football saw the club score 64 goals in the 2012–13 season.

With the club only losing four times, Monaco finished the season as champions, earning a promotion back to Ligue 1.

Using Rybolovlev’s funds, Monaco were one of the biggest spenders in Europe in 2013, spending roughly £140 million, including a club-record £50 million for Radamel Falcao from Atlético Madrid and £40 million for James Rodríguez from FC Porto.

Monaco finished in 2nd place in Ligue 1 in the 2013–14 season and Ranieri was replaced by Leonardo Jardim. The following season, Monaco cut expenses, selling Rodriguez to Real Madrid for €75m and loaning Falcao to Manchester United.

Despite the high-profile departures, Monaco finished in 3rd place in Ligue 1 and made it to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, defeating Arsenal in the Round of 16 before exiting at the hands of Juventus.

Top-scorer from the 2013–14 season Anthony Martial, who managed 12 goals in all competitions, departing for Manchester United in the summer for a fee of €60m, the highest fee paid for a teenager in football history.

This, combined with the sales of Geoffrey Kondogbia, Layvin Kurzawa, Yannick Carrasco, Aymen Abdennour, Lucas Ocampos and others, saw the Monegasque club earn over €180m in the transfer window.

Ligue 1 triumph and aftermath (2016–present)

Monaco won the Ligue 1 title on 17 May 2017, defeating AS Saint-Étienne 2–0. Radamel Falcao and Kylian Mbappé scored 30 and 26 goals respectively to ensure a first Ligue 1 title in 17 years.

Monaco went undefeated for the last 20 games of the season, winning 18 of those 20 games.

In the 2016–17 UEFA Champions League, Monaco staged a dramatic comeback in the Round of 16, losing the first leg 5–3 to Manchester City before beating the English side 3–1 at home to win on away goals.

Monaco then defeated Borussia Dortmund 6–3 on aggregate before going down 4–1 over two legs to Juventus.

In the summer, Kylian Mbappé went to rivals PSG on loan, with the obligation to buy for a fee of €180m, making it the second-highest transfer fee in history after Neymar.

Teammates Bernardo Silva and Benjamin Mendy were sold to Manchester City for over €100m combined and Tiémoué Bakayoko was sold to Chelsea for €40 million.

Monaco managed to finish 2nd in the 2017–18 Ligue 1, 13 points behind league winners PSG. In the summer of 2018, they also sold Fabinho to Liverpool for €42 million.

Jardim was replaced as coach by Thierry Henry in October 2018 after a poor start to the season.

Henry was suspended from his job in January, and Jardim returned days later. Monaco finished the season in 17th, avoiding relegation playoffs by 2 points.

In December 2019 Jardim was fired for the second time in 14 months, and former Spain manager Robert Moreno was appointed in his place.

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic suspended the league on 13 March 2020, and on 28 April 2020, the league was stopped, as the French government banned all sporting events until September.

Monaco ended the season in 9th. On 18 July 2020, Robert Moreno was sacked by AS Monaco, and 1 day later, was replaced by former Bayern Munich manager Niko Kovač.

They finished the league in the third position with 78 points and winning 24 matches from 38 (63%).

Club records

Ligue 1: 8

Coupe de France: 5

Trophée des Champions: 4