Five things to know about Monaco, which is back in the top flight after two years in the French second division and is expected to be Paris Saint-Germain's biggest rival this season:


Using club president Dmitry Rybolovlev's nearly unlimited financial resources, Monaco has been busy in the transfer market and has recruited several football stars. Top of that list is Radamel Falcao, who made a surprise move to the promoted club this summer. Despite expectations he would move to a major European club, the Colombian forward joined Monaco from Atletico Madrid in an offseason deal worth an estimated 60 million euros ($79 million). Falcao, who scored 52 league goals in two seasons for Atletico, will reportedly earn 12 million euros a year.


Monaco's spending spree has brought in excellent young players along with a bunch of experienced veterans. Former Barcelona defender Eric Abidal, Porto pair James Rodriguez and Joao Moutinho, Portugal defender Ricardo Carvalho and France midfielder Jeremy Toulalan have all been recruited - as well as Falcao - in a bid to build a team capable of winning the French title as quickly as possible. The club has splashed out an estimated 150 million euros on nine signings so far.


Having coached the most prestigious teams in Italy as well as Valencia, Atletico Madrid and Chelsea, Claudio Ranieri is expected to use his vast experience to help Monaco win an eighth French title. The 61-year-old Italian signed with the club last summer and succeeded in his task of leading the team back to the top flight. Despite the millions spent on new players, the grey-haired coach has ruled out a title bid from Monaco this season, saying he expects them to finish between third and seventh.


The addition of Falcao to its attack has given a huge boost to Monaco's ambitions but there is no guarantee the new squad will immediately gel and produce a free-flowing style of football. The new players will first have to learn how to play together in a highly competitive league and will be challenging an already well-oiled PSG team. It's worth remembering that despite the big money invested by Qatar Sports Investments and prestigious signings, PSG struggled two seasons ago, with minnow Montpellier winning the title.


To make the quest of snatching the title from PSG even harder, Monaco has been deducted three points (one suspended) and ordered to play a game behind closed doors after trouble flared at its final home game last season against Le Mans. The title celebrations were marred by a post-match pitch invasion, during which the referee was attacked by a supporter. Monaco has appealed the decision.