The Blues legend went to work in the principality and he made it his mission to turn the distracted young man into a great player
Tiemoue Bakayoko was always highly regarded, but when Claude Makelele was the technical director at Monaco, there were concerns that the midfielder may not live up to that potential.
He was only 19-years-old at the time and he didn’t see eye-to-eye with the club’s head coach Leonardo Jardim, but conversations with Makelele saw the youngster change his diet, move house and simplify his life.
Bakayoko demonstrated the quality of character needed to Jardim and helped Monaco to a Ligue 1 title and Champions League semi-final last season. Makelele opened up about his daily conversations with Bakayoko, who fittingly is set to move to Chelsea for £40 million to follow in Makele’s footsteps.
“When I came [to Monaco] I saw him on the bench,” Makelele told Goal. “He never played or was a substitute, I’m like OK. I’d seen a lot of video of him, so I come to see him in the training ground.
“One day I decided to talk to him, I come down and every day I spend it with him. [He had] this wall, this midfielder, the way he plays, he does a lot of wrong things.
“After I see that it’s not only football, the different way is the problem he has I just wanted to clear this way, but I can’t explain everything [with his personal life] so let’s just talk about football.
“I talked with him, cleaned him the way he needed to be free in the head. To play as a midfielder you need to be 100 per cent concentrated. If it’s always a little problem here, little problem there, you can’t focus on your job you know? I talked a lot with him, like a full month with him every day, explaining things on the training ground.
“Focusing on him, not just him, but a lot of players like [Kylian] Mbappe or [Thomas] Lemar who also were on the bench. So when I decided I was leaving, I said to the boss: listen this player needs to play more time, he needs more competition and then you’ll see.
“The next season this happened and it’s like genius no? I think Bakayoko, I don’t know if he’s going to Chelsea or Manchester, but it will be good for him, he’ll be stronger. He has good qualities. He’s good, he needs time and he needs to learn also in the Premier League, as it’s not easy the Premier League.
“He’s not one to get scared. He makes the decisions all the time, sometimes it’s wrong, but this kind of player will make mistakes in order to get better. He has quality as a dribbler, passer, the timing of the pass. He’s good, very good. Now he needs one manager that will make him a big player.”
Makelele played 217 games in five years at Chelsea where he won two league titles and reached a Champions League final with the club. He is now the assistant manager of Swansea City alongside fellow ex-Chelsea man, Paul Clement.