Liverpool's Lille loanee Joe Cole believes that France's top flight is as good as the Premier League if you take away the top four.

The 30-year old midfielder is enjoying his loan in Ligue 1 and says that the quality of football is just as strong as the competition he played in from 1998 until last year.

"The stadiums are not as beautiful as in England, but if you remove Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea or Tottenham, the level is the same," he told L'Equipe.

"The difference with Premier League is the intensity. But it has always been like that.

"The (other) difference is England has money to buy David Silva, (Mario) Balotelli, (Sergio) Aguero, etc."

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