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Is it possible to win France's Ligue 1 (excluding PSG)?

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I played France top league a while ago, it was OM for a few seasons, never made it to win it. Per table below, it's nearly impossible to win Ligue 1 unless you coach PSG. Maybe Monaco appears as a second best on average...

Have you ever done it? What are the tips to beat PSG in France?



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Did it in four seasons with Rennes.


We were distant runners-up for the first three seasons as I gradually built the team up, and then it all clicked together in 2023/2024. We won the league undefeated, won the cup, and reached the Champions League Final (losing 2-0 to Real Madrid).

The key was firstly keeping Camavinga and building the team around him. If you can build a strong relationship with your key players and stand your ground when the big boys come looking for them, it's not that difficult to retain them without stirring up much unrest.

Then I solidified the defence (with Milenkovic and Onguene), and then made sure we had quality going forward (Szoboszlai at AMC, Gouiri and Nicolas Pepe out wide, and an academy wonderkid up front). I often used a 4-2-3-1 vertical tiki-taka system for the 'easier' games, and a counter-attacking 4-3-3 for the trickier ones.

But it wasn't just tactics I had to worry about. Even when we were on a long unbeaten run, I would always manage expectations carefully. I'd use press conferences to downplay our chances (even against the weaker teams) to make sure my players didn't get complacent, but then I'd be much more demanding in team talks, so that they didn't completely switch off.


I'm now doing a journeyman save (I've not managed in France yet, though). It's now 2028, and Monaco have beaten PSG to the title in two of the last three seasons. Sadly for PSG, Messi retired many years ago. :D

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In my save (now 2058) PSG have only won Ligue 1 once in 13 season. Lyon and Rennes are the main two now.

In the 1st 12 seasons, PSG won 7 and Monaco won 5.

Even in Germany, Bayern only won 2 out of 15 at one point with Dormund and Schalke winning it.

Spain is still Barcelona or Real with Atletico winning once every so often

Italy has been mostly Juve

England mostly Chelsea

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Won it in the second season with Metz after PSG had a horrendous start on a network save me and my mates have going. They had a 15 game winning streak at the end of the season but they dropped so many points in the beginning that it didn't matter in the end. They now haven't won it in the last 4 seasons despite spending £300m every season on yet more world class players who end up benched after 6 months. 

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Yes, and it feels so good when you finally manage it. Ligue 1 is by far my favorite FM league.

One thing that will help is after about 5-10 years PSG's AI goes into a cycle where they'll be handicapped by having a generation of players who are past their peak occupying 1/3 or more of their wage bill. It can take them almost a whole season to realize that 8-pace Old Neymar should not be starting, or earning 600k a week, in which time they can trundle to a lot of 0-0 draws against Strasbourg.

There is also a lot to be said for treating the French cup as a youth competition and just paying the league's fines. Getting out early/resting senior players can mean PSG has Champion's League knockouts, league games and cup finals every 2-3 days for weeks, while you can prepare properly. (You may also need to make a decision early on about whether you want to try to win the UCL or the league in about January, because deep runs in Europe can cost you the title).

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