The term “farmers league” is the term many fans use to discredit Ligue 1 and French football in general; despite never watching a game. However, this year it seems that Ligue 1 is putting some respect into the name.
Furthermore, Lionel Messi’s slow process in adapting to the league lets everyone know that not anyone can waltz into Ligue 1 and begin to dominate the competition.
During an interview with the Daily Mail, former Chelsea and Marseille defender Frank Leboeuf stated that Ligue 1 is as strong as the Premier League.
“We always put Ligue 1 as the fifth league in the world, after England, Spain, Germany, and Italy. Physically, I feel it’s as strong as the Premier League,” Leboeuf said. “Before the Premier League was strong, it could be a bit nasty. I played in it. I know what it was. And it was kind of easy when I came back from England.”
“I was a soft guy in the Premier League, and I was the hard guy in Ligue 1. You could see the difference. Now, I think Pochettino said it; Ligue 1 is tougher than the Premier League. That’s very important to understand that.”
Ligue 1 is known for its physicality, but it has put out teams that can compete on the European stage over the past two years. In 2020, two French football clubs were in the UEFA Champions League semifinal, with Paris Saint-Germain and Olympique Lyonnais reaching that phase in the competition. PSG would get to the final but fall to Bayern Munich.
This season, both French teams in the Champions League are in the knockout stages; meanwhile, two of the three Ligue 1 teams advanced past the group stage, finishing first. Also, Stade Rennais finished first in their group, which included Tottenham Hotspur.