Talented youngsters, a togetherness in the dressing room, an adventurous coach and a smattering of experienced players have underpinned Monaco's latest venture to the quarter-finals.
Young, fearless and tight-knit, Monaco have taken the UEFA Champions League by storm. After defeating Manchester City 3-1 to reach the quarter-finals for the second time in three seasons, the Ligue 1 leaders want more and starlet Kylian Mbappé warned the continent's big guns: "It's just the start of things."
- Monaco edge through after another thriller against City
- Match and reaction as it happened
- The story of the match in photos
We have to start with the youngest and most talked about player in the Monaco team. Mbappé, 18, scored in both legs against City on his first two UEFA Champions League starts.
A prodigious talent, Mbappé set the tone in the second leg as he frightened John Stones with his pace from the off. Showing a by now customary cool head he put missing a one-on-one behind him by converting the next chance that fell his way. At his startling rate of progress people will one day be talking about the "new Kylian Mbappé".
"The new Thierry Henry" only allowed his tender years to come through post-match when he said: "Look into my eyes; they're all lit up. This is truly incredible. I'm savouring this and it's just the start of things."
Playing as a team is much easier when the atmosphere is good and Monaco are a bunch of close mates. Marauding left-back Benjamin Mendy, who set up Monaco's second goal for Fabinho and enjoyed another outstanding game, told UEFA.com: "We're great friends and we enjoy being out on the pitch together. We have fun playing football and as we enjoy it so much we don't feel the pressure of having to get results."
The philosophy starts at the top with coach Leonardo Jardim. The Portuguese explained: "On Tuesday I was asked by a journalist if I was afraid of this match. Matches like this are meant to be enjoyed and I love these games when there's so much at stake."
Irrepressible for the first 45 minutes, Monaco relied on their courage to advance when required to score again following Leroy Sané's goal for City. Midfielder Bernardo Silva explained: "We didn't tremble at 2-1 down. Our strength all season has been that we're not afraid to play. I'd like to say thank you to [Tiemoué] Bakayoko for taking us into the quarters!"
A principality for old(er) men
Doing their bit for the elder generation, goalkeeper Danijel Subašić and Andrea Raggi, both 32, played crucial roles. Subašić atoned for his first-leg mistake with a string of good saves and Raggi made several crucial last-ditch challenges before limping off in the second half.
Subašić separates the Monaco dressing room into "the adults" and "the talented kids". A couple more "adults" in Radamel Falcao, after injury, and Kamil Glik, after suspension, will be back to bolster Monaco in the last eight.