New Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim has confirmed that Radamel Falcao will be part of his squad for the visit of Lorient in their first game of the 2014/15 Ligue 1 campaign on Sunday.
Jardim, who took over Les Rouges et Blancs following Claudio Ranieri's departure, says the Colombian is not completely ready after missing most of the year with a knee injury, but he will be able to feature in the curtain-raiser at the Stade Louis II.
"Falcao is not 100 per cent yet but is ready to be included in the group," Jardim told reporters.
With or without the former Porto frontman, who has been linked with summer moves to Liverpool and Real Madrid, it is a massive game for Jardim. His predecessor Ranieri came under scrutiny for failing to topple Paris Saint-Germain, who are aiming to win a hat-trick of back-to-back Ligue 1 titles this season. Jardim's task is simple: break that monopoly. And he is keen to get things under way with a win this weekend.
"We worked hard for six weeks to be ready. We want to start with a good game on Sunday," he added. "The team is confident after the six friendlies. We do everything to have a good quality of football."
PSG visit Reims, Lille host Metz
Holders PSG officially kick off the new Ligue 1 season away at Reims on Friday night and new signing David Luiz is eager to put his FIFA World Cup™ woes behind him and get started.
The Brazil defender, who left Chelsea to join PSG in a £50m move in June, was one of the players most visibly distraught after the hosts were battered 7-1 by eventual winners Germany in the semi-finals but he says there will be no hangover from that defeat.
''If the World Cup had finished at the quarter-final stage then you wouldn't be asking questions about my ability," he said at his PSG unveiling earlier this week. ''I've had time to digest the end of our World Cup and now I'm ready to do everything to help PSG."
Lille, who discovered on Friday they will face Porto in a UEFA Europa League play-off later this month, host newly-promoted Metz on Saturday to begin their campaign as they search for a way to close the gap on last year's runaway top two this time around.
All eyes will be on Manchester City youngster Marcos Lopes at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy, with coach Rene Girard expecting big things from the 18-year-old during his season-long loan.
"Our gazes fell on Lopes,'' Girard told RMC Sport. "He has a great left foot and is a good passer. What he brings us is bundles of technique. He is young and ambitious."
Meanwhile, Lens - whose preparations for a return to Ligue 1 were hit by a ban on signing new players earlier this week - travel to Nantes, Nice host Toulose and Montpellier face Bordeaux at the Stade de la Mosson.
Rounding off the weekend's action on Sunday, Lyon will have to overcome injuries to Henri Bedimo and Lindsay Rose if they are to beat Rennes at the Stade de Gerland.