After a season in which Paris Saint-Germain ultimately eased to the Ligue 1 title, it is to be expected that the capital club are well represented in our Team of the Year, but the fine seasons enjoyed by Marseille and Saint-Etienne means that their leading players also make their presence felt.
PSG's charge to the championship only really began after coach Carlo Ancelotti started using a loose version of a 4-4-2 formation, while Saint-Etienne and Lille are leading exponents of 4-3-3. However, this team is based on the 4-2-3-1 formation still widely used elsewhere in France's top flight.
Goalkeeper: Salvatore Sirigu (Paris Saint-Germain) Appearances: 33, Goals conceded: 16
Signed from Palermo in the summer of 2011, Italian international Sirigu, 26, has been a revelation in his two years with PSG. Sirigu conceded a meagre 16 goals in his 33 appearances in PSG's march to the title. He kept a remarkable 22 clean sheets and set a new club record by going 948 minutes without conceding a Ligue 1 goal, beating the previous record held by Bernard Lama. Sirigu has also distinguished himself by quickly becoming fluent in French, unlike the majority of those brought to PSG from abroad since the Qatari takeover of the club.
Right-back: Christophe Jallet (Paris Saint-Germain) Appearances: 27, Goals: 0
An outstanding candidate for the right-back berth has been lacking since Mathieu Debuchy left Lille for Newcastle United, but Christophe Jallet deserves his place as one of the few survivors of the ancien régime to have featured heavily in Ancelotti's PSG side. The 29-year-old was signed from Lorient in 2009 and played in the team that won the French Cup under Antoine Kombouaré in his first season. This season, his position appeared in danger following the arrival of Dutch international Gregory Van der Wiel, but Jallet has remained the first-choice and has regularly worn the captain's armband. Jallet has also worked his way into Didier Deschamps' France squad.
Centre-back: Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain) Appearances: 22, Goals: 0
Thiago Silva has only featured in 22 Ligue 1 games in his first season in France since moving to PSG for a stunning fee of €42 million (£36m) from AC Milan. The Brazilian took his time to recover his fitness after featuring for his country at the London Olympics and then missed two months at the start of 2013 due to a thigh injury. However, the 28-year-old is without doubt the best defender in Ligue 1 and many would share PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti's view that he is the best centre-back in the world. Silva cruises through games and, despite his difficulties with the language, wears the captain's armband.
Centre-back: Nicolas Nkoulou (Marseille) Appearances: 38, Goals: 1
The 23-year-old Cameroon international was an ever-present in the heart of a mean Marseille defence as Elie Baup's side surprisingly secured second place. Nkoulou is an immensely talented player and it is hard to believe that he is still so young. OM might struggle to keep hold of Nkoulou in the long term, and Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger is an admirer. However, the promise of Champions League football next season should ensure that he stays put for now.
Left-back: Lucas Digne (Lille) Appearances: 33, Goals: 2
It is perhaps unfair not to select Maxwell at left-back, with the Brazilian's experience of winning major trophies key in helping PSG secure the title. However, the 19-year-old Digne deserves recognition for an outstanding breakthrough campaign with Lille. An exciting attacking full-back, bigger clubs are already keeping close tabs on Digne, who will represent France at the under-20 World Cup in Turkey this summer.
Central midfielder: Blaise Matuidi (Paris Saint-Germain) Appearances: 37, Goals: 5
Matuidi, 26, was aptly described by sports daily L'Equipe as 'The Lungs' of Ancelotti's PSG side. An outstanding complement to the central playmaker, whether it be Thiago Motta, Marco Verratti or even David Beckham, Matuidi is about as close as it gets to a 'box-to-box' midfielder in Ligue 1. And the former Saint-Etienne man, now a regular for France, started to add goals to his game this season, including one in the crucial 1-0 win against Lyon in December.
Central midfielder: Josuha Guilavogui (Saint-Etienne) Appearances: 38, Goals: 3
A 22-year-old of Guinean origin, Guilavogui is the successor to Matuidi at Saint-Etienne. Already impressive last season, the marauding midfielder has been outstanding for Les Verts, featuring in every league game and helping Christophe Galtier's side win the League Cup. Guilavogui was just as effective in an advanced role earlier in the season as he was in the holding role after Jérémy Clément succumbed to a broken leg, and has been called up to the France squad for the first time for their end-of-season trip to South America.
Attacking midfielder: Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille) Appearances: 37, Goals: 3
Marseille have developed a reputation for grinding out results under Elie Baup, but what little flair has been provided by OM this season has come from the diminutive Valbuena. The 28-year-old of Spanish origin initially struggled to win over the Stade Vélodrome crowd after signing back in 2006, but he is now a key player for both club and country. Le Pétit Vélo scored three league goals and set up 12 more.
Winger: Dimitri Payet (Lille) Appearances: 38, Goals: 12
Inconsistent in his first season with Lille after joining from Saint-Etienne in the summer of 2011, the 26-year-old from the French Indian Ocean island of Réunion was superb for the northern club in the campaign just finished. Payet scored 12 goals and set up 12 more and, without European football to look forward to next season, Lille may struggle to keep hold of a player who is believed to be a target for Marseille.
Winger: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Saint-Etienne) Appearances: 37, Goals: 19
French-born Gabon international Aubameyang was the star man in an outstanding season for Saint-Etienne, scoring 19 league goals and setting up the winner for strike partner Brandão in April's League Cup final win against Rennes. The lighting-fast 23-year-old is perhaps at his best through the middle, but the presence of Brandão has forced him to play wide. Having also scored 16 goals last season, Aubameyang is a target for clubs in England and Germany and will almost certainly be on the move this summer.
Centre-forward: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris Saint-Germain) Appearances: 35, Goals: 30
The expectation was huge when PSG signed Ibrahimovic from AC Milan last summer, and the 31-year-old Swede has not disappointed. Zlatan scored 35 goals in all competitions, including 30 in Ligue 1, which was the highest tally by any player in France's top flight since Jean-Pierre Papin for Marseille in 1989-90. No other PSG player scored more than eight league goals, and Ibra was deservedly voted France's Player of the Year by his fellow players.
Stéphane Ruffier (Saint-Etienne) Goalkeeper, Appearances: 38, Goals conceded: 32, Loïc Perrin (Saint-Etienne) Centre-back, Appearances: 34, Goals: 2, Didier Digard (Nice) Central midfielder, Appearances: 36, Goals: 2, Florian Thauvin (Bastia) Winger, Appearances: 32, Goals: 10, Romain Alessandrini (Rennes) Winger, Appearances: 22, Goals: 10, Dario Cvitanich (Nice) Centre-forward, Appearances: 29, Goals: 19, Jérémie Aliadière (Lorient) Centre-forward, Appearances: 31, Goals: 15
Coach: Christophe Galtier (Saint-Etienne)
Galtier, 46, won the French Players' Union vote jointly with Carlo Ancelotti, but his achievements at Saint-Etienne deserve full recognition. Surprisingly promoted from his role as assistant to Alain Perrin when the latter was sacked in December 2009, Galtier has done an extraordinary job since, improving Sainté every season and leading them to their first major trophy in 32 years in this season's League Cup. Recently signed a contract extension, tying him to the club until 2016.