Where Are They Now?: The 2011 Lille Team that Won Ligue 1

GK: Mickael Landreau

After joining Lille in 2009 from Paris Saint-Germain, Mickael Landreau would go on to spend three years at Lille before departing by mutual consent in December 2012. Landreau would play a key role in the title-winning season due to his starting role as a goalkeeper for Lille throughout and Landreau was even voted Player of the Month for February.

Later on in the season, the keeper would go on to finish in the Ligue 1 Team of the Season, finishing ahead of Hugo Lloris, Steve Mandanda and Stephane Ruffier. Retiring in 2014, Landreau would move into management where he was assistant at Paris FC and took charge of Lorient in 2017 before quitting in 2019.

RB: Mathieu Debuchy

Joining his boyhood club in 2003, Mathieu Debuchy would spend 10 years at the club before joining Newcastle in 2013. A starting right-back for Lille throughout, Debuchy was another key piece in the team but most importantly he provided the assist for Moussa Sow to score Lille’s second goal against PSG in a 2-2 draw which would secure them the title.

In 2013, he would leave the north of France for Newcastle. He performed so well in the Newcastle squad that a year later he would go on to join Arsenal for around £12m. In north London, Debuchy would go on to win the FA Cup in 2015 and then the Community Shield in 2014 and 2015. After a loan to Bordeaux in 2016, Debuchy would return to France in 2018 after his contract expired with Arsenal.

The Frenchman would join Saint-Etienne and has proved that age does not matter as he would be named player of the month for February in 2018.

CB: Franck Beria

Joining Lille in 2007, Beria would be a stalwart of the title-winning team after forming a defensive partnership with Adil Rami. Beria would spend 10 years at Lille, retiring in 2017.

He now holds the position of Director of Professional Football at the club.

CB: Adil Rami

Adil Rami joined Lille in 2006 from fourth tier Frejus and he would be the second half of the defensive partnership of him and Beria. Rami would leave Les Dogues halfway through the 2011/12 season to join Valencia but would be loaned back for the remainder of the season.

Rami would go on to play for AC Milan, Sevilla and Marseille afterwards and during his time at Marseille, the Frenchman was part of the 2018 World Cup-winning squad. Rami’s time at Marseille would come to an end after he was released due to misconduct after appearing on a French TV show in a mud wrestling challenge, during the same period his relationship with Pamela Anderson would come to an end.

Rami has since had stints at Fenerbahce, Sochi and is now at Boavista in Portugal.

LB: Aurelien Chedjou

Joining Lille in 2007, the Cameroonian would spend the majority of the title winning season at left-back for Les Douges and his time in the north of France would last over six years before moving to Galatasaray in 2013.

Since then, he has spent the majority of his career in Turkey. In 2017, Chedjou would join Istanbul Basaksehir and has since had spells at Bursaspor, a brief return to France with Amiens and he now plays for Adana Demirspor.

CM: Rio Mavuba

After signing from Villarreal in 2008, Mavuba would go on to become a great within the football club. Mavuba was at the centre of the midfield in the title-winning campaign and would make the midfield position his own throughout his nine year stay in northern France. The Frenchman would go on to captain the club until he left in 2017.

After his contract ended, Mavuba moved to Sparta Prague where he would only spend a year. Since 2018, he has been playing for Merignac Arlac in the fifth tier of French football.

CM: Florent Balmont

Another key component in the title-winning Lille midfield was Florent Balmont. Balmont joined Lille in 2008 after spells with Lyon, Nice and Toulouse and he would spend eight years with Les Dogues.

In 2016, he would announce that he would leave Lille for the newly promoted Dijon. Balmont would stay at Dijon at four years before retiring, with the intention to move into coaching.

CM: Yohan Cabaye

Before becoming a global star, Yohan cabaye made his name at his boyhood club Lille. Joining in 2004, he would leave a champion at the end of the 2011 season to join Newcastle United. His time on Tyneside involved forming a partnership with Papiss Demba Cisse and after three years in Newcastle, Cabaye would go on to become part of the PSG project spending one year with the Parisians.

In 2015, Cabaye would return to the Premier League, but this time for Crystal Palace. He would spend three years in London becoming Palace’s first-choice penalty taker. After his contract expired, he would go on to play for AL Nasr in Dubai and finally Saint Etienne, which saw him reunited with Debuchy.

Cabaye announced his retirement from football earlier this season.

RW: Gervinho

After joining in 2009, Gervinho would have a slow start to his time in northern France but his form really picked up in the title-winning season where he was able to net 15 goals in Ligue 1 to help secure the title.

The Ivorian would also become part of a threatening trident including a young Eden Hazard and Moussa Sow and would earn a place in the Ligue 1 Team of the Year after this partnership grabbed the attention of all of Europe.

In 2011, Gervinho would join Arsenal for £10.8m but was unable to light up the Premier League as he did in Ligue 1. Two years later, the winger would join Roma where he was once again to showcase his talent replicated in France.

Then, after two years in China with Hebei Fortune, Gervinho would join Parma where is currently still playing and remains a decent player, despite poor showing in the Premier League

LW: Eden Hazard

Eden Hazard is without question the biggest prospect to come out of Lille. The Belgian joined the club in 2004 and would progress through their academy as one of Europe's brightest young talents, but it was the title-winning season where he was able to announce himself to the world

Hazard would finish first in the Player of the Year voting become the youngest ever winner while also making the Team of the Year and establishing himself as arguably the best under 23 player in Europe at that time. Subsequently, Hazard would cause a frenzy in the transfer market, with all of Europe seeking his signature. However, he would stay another year at Lille before joining Chelsea for £32m.

Hazard had an illustrious career at Chelsea and cement himself as one of their best players in the modern era. During his time at Chelsea, he was able to win the Premier League twice, the FA Cup, the League Cup and the Europa League twice. But it was his 2014/15 season where he showed why he was one of the best around as he won the FWA Footballer of the Year as well as the PFA Players' of the Year and Premier League Player of the Season.

Hazard has since moved to Real Madrid and his time in the Spanish capital has been marred by injuries which has restricted him to only 25 appearances.

For years it seemed as if Madrid was a match made in heaven for the Belgian, but in truth, his £100m has been an utter waste so far.

ST: Moussa Sow

Sow reached the peak of his career during his time in northern France and his first season with Lille saw him net 25 goals in 36 league appearances and was the main source for goals in Lille’s title-winning campaign, which also saw him make the Ligue 1 team of the Year.

He would carry on his goalscoring form into the new season for Les Dogues before moving to Fenerbahce. He was unable to repeat his goalscoring form in Turkey only showing flashes of his ability and after a brief period with Al Ahli, Sow would bounce between Dubai and Turkey until finally settling with Umraniyespor where he currently plays.

By Jack Meenan


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