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When I was young…Tiemoue Bakayoko

06/07/2018

KICKABOUTS
I played in my neighbourhood withmy friends. Therewas a little pitch, a football centre, called the Stade Elisabeth, and that’s where I learned to play, with my friends and the people from my local area.

PRIZED POSSESSION
I’m not really a materialistic person. What’s most important to me are my friends and family. Everything else is just secondary. The most important thing to me is to make my parents proudof me.

BEST CHILDHOOD MOMENT
There was a tournament andI remember setting off fromour neighbourhood with all the other players to go to another town and compete. We wentall that way and won it, and it wasn’t an easy tournament at all – I remember it was really cold.I was the captain so I can recall lifting the cup, and it’s a really great memory for me.

MAJOR TOURNAMENT
The tournament I remember most was the World Cup in 2006, when France got to the final and lost against Italy. I was watching when Zinedine Zidane scored that awesome penalty and later when he was sentoff for the headbutt, but we don’t need to talk about that! I was completely hooked. I watched it on the television with my family andit was stressful because there was so much tension, but it is certainly the tournament that has most stuck with me.

FAVOURITE PLAYER
Ronaldinho was a player who really inspired me when I was young. I was just a young boy in Paris and, like all my friends, I was a PSG fan, soI used to watch Ronaldinho play for them and he was the one who really made us all dream about being footballers. He was capable of some spectacular things out on the pitch and I was inspired by them.

WHEN I WASN’T PLAYING FOOTBALL
I liked listening to music, hanging out with my friends and I also enjoyed other sports, like table tennis, badminton and basketball. I liked to learn new sports and sometimes to have a bit of a change from football. I didn’t play any of them at a high level butI wasn’t bad at racquet sports, particularly tennis and table tennis.

FIRST POSITION

I played No10, attacking midfield, and supporting the striker. It was a position I really liked because it gave me the possibility to score goals and I also liked dribbling. I moved a bit deeper when I was in the academy at Rennes and the coaches were happy with what I was doing in that mid eld position, so that became myrole and it continues to be up to this day.

WISE WORDS

My advice to a young me would be to make the most of being young and to enjoy yourself. Don’t be afraid to take risks because it becomes harder to do that as you grow older. So make the most of the time when you are young, with your family and friends, because it’s really the best time of your life.

TV SHOW
I really liked My Wife And Kids, which is called “Ma famille d’abord” in France. It’s an American sitcom about a crazy family. It’s a really funny series and I’m someone who loves to laugh. It was also a show that taught you a lot – there were lots of wise words – so alongside it being fun, I also learned a lot of life lessons from watching it.

SUMMER DAYS
My holidays were great – I used to have two-and-a-half months off.I didn’t often leave Paris, I used to stay and hang out with my brothers and my friends, but sometimes I went back to the Ivory Coast with my parents. That’s where my origins are and, for me, it’s a very important thing to go back to my parents’ country, to see my family there and to enjoy a bit of the sunshine.

SCHOOL DAYS
I was pretty calm as a kid at school. I wasn’t someone who spoke too much, although I got up to some mischief with my friends, pulling tricks on the teachers and the other kids. But overall I was pretty calm and I was quite an intelligent child. I knew how to stick with something and persevere with it in order to learn, but I preferred football, and that’s what has got me where Iam today.

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