Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

It All Adds Up for Reds Target at Monaco

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

It All Adds Up for Reds Target at Monaco

Article excerpt

HOW do professional footballers choose their shirt numbers? Andrea Pirlo picked No.21 because the day his father was born, the day he got married and the day he made his Serie A debut all fell on the 21st.

Mario Balotelli wears No.45 because the No.9 shirt was taken at Inter when he made his professional debut in 2007 and four + five = nine.

And, for Monaco's Tiemoue Bakayoko - who has been linked with a move to United - the No. 14 shirt is the number of the district in Paris where he grew up.

The number has further significance as it was the age when Bakayoko joined Rennes - a year after he was turned away from the French Football Federation's national football centre in Clairefontaine after breaking his leg.

Bakayoko recovered from that heartbreak to follow in the footsteps of Sylvain Wiltord, Jimmy Briand and Yoann Gourcuff in breaking through into Rennes' first team five years later.

And, having made him wait for his chance in the club's Under-17s, boss Philippe Montanier remembers a midfielder who was ready to take his opportunity. …

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