Bakayoko: Paris-born, Monaco-made
Tiémoué Bakayoko has flourished since joining AS Monaco, and the freshly-capped France international hopes now to embellish his growing reputation with a Coupe de la Ligue winner's medal against his hometown club.
Bakayoko was born in Paris to Ivorian parents, but will seek to put one over on Paris Saint-Germain at Parc OL on Saturday to help Monaco give their challenge to the capital club's hegemony of French football the added credence of a silverware lining.
He might have been watching the game from home still a Stade Rennais player, however, had he not taken the decision to swap Brittany for the Cote d'Azur in 2014 after just 24 Ligue 1 appearances for the Rouge-et-Noir.
"I came through the ranks at Rennes so of course I wanted to spend the first few years of my career there. But there were some differences of opinion within the club regarding my situation," Bakayoko told The Ligue 1 Show. "I decided to leave and I think it was the best solution. Today, I'm proud of the choice I made."
He added: "I like to go with my gut feeling and I really sensed there was a good project at Monaco, and I felt confident that I’d flourish here."
WATCH: Bakayoko scores the winner against Caen
Initially, however, it looked like the rangy midfielder's bold move might backfire.
His Ligue 1 debut for the principality outfit in Week 1 of the 2014/15 season was cut embarrassingly short by coach Leonardo Jardim, who substituted the summer arrival after just 31 minutes.
Though Bakayoko eventually returned to the starting line-up, the fact he made just 31 top-flight appearances in the two Ligue 1 seasons prior to the current one are an indication of the battle he faced to earn Jardim's favours.
His fortunes changed last summer, and after being given his opportunity, the rangy 22-year-old has seized it so impressively he even convinced France coach Didier Deschamps he should be the answer when Paul Pogba had to withdraw from Les Bleus' squad due to injury during the last international break.
"I really didn't expect to be selected," said Bakayoko, who won his first cap when he came off the bench in France's 2-0 defeat to Spain in Tuesday's friendly.
"It's a great bonus and I'm very proud to have this special chance to play for France. I played for France at youth level and this is now a reward for my performances with Monaco. I feel like a very proud man today."