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Valenciennes v AS Monaco: Preview

Monaco boss Claudio Ranieri has light-heartedly claimed his side could be considered ``virtual champions'' of Ligue 1 due to Paris St Germain's financial fair play transgressions.

With PSG confirmed as champions there is little of substance for Monaco to play for at relegated Valenciennes on Saturday, but Ranieri was in a playful enough mood at his pre-match press conference to jibe his club's lofty rivals.

PSG have been deemed by UEFA to be in breach of FFP guidelines and, although Monaco may have suffered the same fate had they been involved in European competition this season, Ranieri took the opportunity to have his say on the subject.

With Monaco the only French side in a position to match the capital club's spending power, the Italian coach would clearly like to see the back of FFP regulations to help complete the catch-up process.

``UEFA said that Paris St Germain won without fair play. Monaco won (their matches) with fair play. So we are the virtual champions,'' he joked, before admitting: ``I don't know if we're within the rules either.''

Ranieri added: ``In the coming decade Paris can win the title eight times, unless another club invests a lot of money. Monaco, for example, could do that.

``I think that whoever has the financial capacity and the possibility to spend money, has the right to do so.''

Ranieri has already announced he will make significant changes for the match, though victory would put his team on 79 points - level with their record haul in the top flight with a game still to play.

For Valenciennes there is nothing but pride to play for in their final home fixture, yet defender Lindsay Rose insists they will be doing doing their utmost.

``Every player wants to perform for the fans who will be there,'' he said.

``We are paid by the club, we are employees, and we must give back all the time, despite relegation.

``There have been insults to some players from the stands and I do not agree with that, but I understand that the fans want to show their discontent.''

ends

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