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Jun 3, 2013

Carvalho plays down Monaco title talk

Ricardo Carvalho and billionaire owner Dmitri Rybolovlev have both played down Monaco's chances of winning the Ligue 1 title next season despite the principality club's massive summer spending spree.

• Blog: Monaco making a splash

The estimated €60 million arrival of Radamel Falcao last week followed hot on the heels of the €70 million outlay for Porto duo James Rodriguez and Joao Moutinho. The €4 million-rated Nicolas Isimat-Mirin has also joined and while Carvalho did not cost a penny, as he was out of contract at Real Madrid, his lofty stature within the game has hardly dampened expectations.

However, the former Portugal international told RMC it was perhaps too soon to expect his new club, who have returned to the top flight after a two-year absence by winning Ligue 2, to challenge freshly-crowned Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain next season.

"[The board] told me that they hoped to improve match-after-match, win games, because you can't achieve everything in just a single year. PSG start with a certain advantage as they have good players and a ready-made team. We all hope we can [challenge], but it's a little early to say. First of all, we have to create a squad," the centre-back explained.

"The club's board knows that in a team, you need to mix young players with experienced ones. The club asked me to come to help the team, but I must admit I don't know a lot of the squad. The financial argument is an important one in bringing in great players. But there's not only that. You also have to win matches so you don't disappoint."

The man who has bankrolled Monaco's latest additions, Rybolovlev is - like the club he took over in December 2011 -also beginning to emerge into the limelight. In his first interview in the French media, the Russian told L'Equipe on Monday he would continue to bullishly defend his club's fiscal status, which is being challenged by the French Football League (LFP) and a number of Ligue 1 presidents, while also furthering his club's renaissance.

"We have the ambition, but we're progressing step-by-step. The French championship is very difficult, it's too soon to be talking about the title," he said. "I want to see Monaco back where it belongs on the international scene. We'll see how long that takes. I say once again, we have the ambition, but it's too soon to have a precise objective."

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