AS Monaco: Unique Forever
fcbusiness spent 48hrs with AS Monaco speaking exclusively to Vice-President – CEO Vadim Vasilyev about the club’s success on the pitch, their transfer policy, building the business and Financial Fair Play.
“From the very beginning of the season it felt pretty special,” recalled Vadim Vasilyev as we discussed the club’s 2016/17 season sitting in his office overlooking the harbour on the edge of Monaco’s border with France. “Then we had a victory over Paris [Saint-Germain] at the end of August and at that moment I was convinced that something very special was happening. I went to the dressing room and I said ‘Guys, this season we will go very very far!’,” he continued tapping his desk to force home the point.
Monaco would finish the season eight points clear of Paris Saint Germain collecting their 8th league title following a 17 year hiatus, scoring 107 goals and setting a record of 15 consecutive victories in the French league.
“There was just something there, there was a spirit,” he continued. “When you talked to the players it felt special. When everyone is friends and they push each other, and if they don’t play they’re still happy for the team to win, each one makes the other stronger. It was just there.”
And just there, in front of me, sitting proudly atop a shelf is the grand Ligue 1 trophy. But it wasn’t just the French league where success was achieved. In Europe, Monaco marched through to the semi-finals of the Champions League, sweeping aside the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund. They would eventually be vanquished by Italian giants, Juventus.
Their success was built upon a team spirit and a willingness by coach Leonardo Jardim to change the playing system to 4-4-2 to accommodate the club’s front pairing of the experienced Radamel Falcao, who had returned to the club following a unsettled period in England on loan at Manchester United and Chelsea, and the raw talent that was emerging from the club’s academy – Kylian Mbappe.
“I give credit to the coach because he changed the system. We had never previously played 4-4-2 and in pre-season we started scoring goals and we had the feeling that things were going the right way,” he continued.
But this success didn’t come easy. Russian born Mr Vasilyev joined in 2013 after his fellow countryman; Dmitry Rybolovlev purchased a 66.67% stake in the club from the House of Grimaldi with the club floundering at the bottom of Ligue 2 and in very real danger of going out of business. With a background is in diplomacy, international trading and investments, Mr Vasilyev was charged, with investment from Mr Rybolovlev, of overseeing the club’s transfer business with significant
With the club stabilised, focus turned to achieving promotion under the guidance of then manager Claudio Ranieri. Winning the Ligue 2 title in 2012/13 saw the club achieve this goal and the following season they would finish second in Ligue 1 and reaffirm their place in the top league.