Captain Gonalons tips bright Lyon future

Lyon captain Maxime Gonalons believes the Ligue 1 giants will return to the summit of French football in the next two to three years.

Lyon won seven successive Ligue 1 titles between 2001-2008 but they have struggled to keep pace in France's top flight since Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco were bought out by respective billionaires.

Since their last championship-winning season in 2007-08, Lyon's best finish to a campaign has been second behind Marseille in 2009-10.

But led by Gonalons and Ligue 1 top goalscorer Alexandre Lacazette (17), Lyon are showing glimpses of a resurgence, sitting second adrift of leaders Marseille at the mid-season break.

And Gonalons feels his young team-mates are on the right track to become a "formidable" team once again.

"The young lads still have a lot to learn; the world of professional football isn't easy, either on or - especially - off the pitch," the 25-year-old told BeIN Sports.

"There are lots of different parameters to take in to account. But I've always said, if the club is capable of holding on to all the young players, I think that in two or three years we'll have a really formidable team, because we have quality players and good people. 

"The big new stadium is going to be ready early in 2016. When you see the club's ambition it makes you want to stay."

Gonalons, who joined the club at the age of 11, added: "There's a real club culture here; the coaches are all former Lyon players and they've developed their skills and their winning mentality. 

"Winning is very important here - you only need to see the president to know that - and it's this mentality that has enabled Lyon to reach such a high level. 

"He [Jean-Michel Aulas] wants to win time and time again. When you see his attitude you can't help but give your all every single day."