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What makes Villarreal's Cédric Bakambu special

Hip hop and pizza are two of the things that make Cédric Bakambu tick, with Villarreal's French-born forward having sparkled in Turkey before striking it rich with Villarreal.

Cédric Bakambu after scoring against Sparta
Cédric Bakambu after scoring against Sparta ©Getty Images

Born: 11/04/1991

• UEFA European Under-19 Championship: 2010

• He feels both European and African. Cédric Bakambu was born in Paris to parents who had emigrated to France from the Democratic Republic of Congo. He thus identifies with both countries: "I grew up with both cultures and I am very proud of that. I think it's something that enriches you."

• The striker was mobbed by fans during his first visit to his parents' homeland with the national team in 2015. Although he had helped France to glory at the 2010 UEFA European U19 Championship, and to the semi-finals of the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup, Bakambu ultimately chose to represent DR Congo at senior level. Not that he was prepared for the welcome he received in Kinshasa: "I hadn't even played a match yet they made banners for me. It's really something else. It was through football that I discovered my country."

Villarreal 2-1 Sparta Praha

• Bakambu listens to hip hop before games to motivate himself. After then exerting himself on the pitch he indulges his love for fast food, eating pizza and hamburgers.

• The forward was at Brussels Zaventem airport the morning of the shocking terrorist attacks of 22 March. He was due to board a plane to DR Congo, along with team-mate Dieumerci Mbokani, to report for international duty. Unscathed after the bombings, he made the journey the next day.

• Bakambu is used to upping sticks to better his career. Exotic moves to Turkey and Spain would follow, but his first step was to leave Paris for eastern France – and Sochaux – aged 15. He broke into the first-team set-up in 2010/11, scoring 17 goals over four seasons, yet could not prevent the club's relegation from Ligue 1 in 2014.

Bakambu's two against Leverkusen

• Turkish football made him. The front man shunned offers from Germany, Italy and England, taking the less travelled option of switching to Turkish outfit Bursaspor; it proved a shrewd decision as he netted 21 goals in 41 games in all competitions last term. "I took a risk," he said. "Sometimes in life you have to know what you want. I was motivated and determined and I needed to succeed somewhere. It went very well for me – I played big games in big atmospheres and that experience helped me develop."

• He and his Bursaspor side took the ferry to Istanbul for their 2014/15 Turkish Cup semi-final second leg at Fenerbahçe, being joined by hordes of boisterous travelling fans. "It was packed with supporters from Bursa, singing our names," he recalled. "The trip was outstanding." The impromptu rally certainly worked, Bursaspor winning the second leg 3-0 to reach the final 4-2 on aggregate.

Villarreal 4-0 Dinamo Minsk

• Bakambu endeared himself to the Villarreal supporters during October's 4-0 UEFA Europa League home win against Dinamo Minsk – playing on after hurting his ankle and promptly notching his second of the night, limping to reach a cross and tap in from close range.

• The 25-year-old has continued his clinical streak in the tournament's knockout stage, getting both goals in the 2-0 round of 16 aggregate success over Bayer Leverkusen before registering in either half of the quarter-final first leg with Sparta Praha – a 2-1 triumph that puts his team in the driving seat in the tie. With seven goals, he is the competition's joint second-top scorer together with Dortmund's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.