Neymar beaten to Ligue 1 award by Saint-Etienne's Mathieu Debuchy


Former Arsenal defender Mathieu Debuchy has beaten Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar to the Ligue 1 Player of the Month award for February thanks to his fine form at Saint-Etienne.

Debuchy scored twice, including a late equaliser in the Rhone derby with Lyon, to earn 47 percent of the vote organised by the UNFP, France's professional footballers' union.

The award makes him the first defender since PSG captain Thiago Silva in 2013 to win the prize.

Neymar, who scored twice and registered two assists, took 34 percent of the popular vote with Montpellier goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte third with 19 percent.

Injuries and the form of Hector Bellerin had pushed Debuchy to the margins of the Arsenal squad, and the 32-year-old opted to return to his native France in January.

He has yet to taste defeat with Saint-Etienne as he seeks to force his way into France boss Didier Deschamps' World Cup plans.

Ian is ESPN's French football correspondent. Twitter: @ian_holyman