Back in his days with Standard Liege, Michy Batshuayi was asked which clubs he wanted to play for in his career. His answer: “Marseille and Borussia Dortmund”. The Belgian striker is now living one of his career dreams at the Signal Iduna Park.
It has turned into something of a dream for the Schwarzgelbe support, too, with Batshuayi plundering six goals and an assist in his eight Bundesliga games since swapping Chelsea for BVB in the winter transfer window.
“I've always wanted to play in Dortmund,” Batshuayi told French football magazine Onze Mundial. "I'd already said so to reporters back in the day. If they tried hard enough they could find an article of me saying that when I was at Standard Liege! I was asked who I wanted to play for in my career, and my reply was 'Marseille and Dortmund', and now I'm happy cos I've done both. They are two major institutions, domestically and internationally."
Batshuayi spent 18 months at Chelsea after leaving second club Marseille, and even scored the goal that sealed their English Premier League title last season, but he found his game time limited under Antonio Conte, and the chance to succeed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as the darling of the Yellow Wall proved too good to turn down.
"I came to Dortmund because I needed playing time in order to find myself,” Batshuayi said. “There were a lot of offers but with Dortmund everything was wrapped up very quickly. I'm psyched up right now because I spent a year and a half on the bench before. People are starting to see Michy again and it feels good.”
Watch: Batshuayi's incredible late show against Frankfurt!
The Belgian is used to battling against the odds. Even in his time at Marseille he found himself frozen out by Marcelo Bielsa. Perhaps unsurprisingly for those who have now had the opportunity to marvel at the svelte touch of the muscular 6-footer, Batshuayi turned to futsal when he wasn't playing.
"You're not meant to do it (when you have a pro contract), but when I wasn't playing I used to play futsal,” he revealed. “I'd have died not playing it! Futsal makes me feel better, I feel free, free with the ball. I think I'll play it for the rest of my days."
Batshuayi is firmly out of the shadows, a fast-emerging hero at his new club who has lived up to his “Batsman” nickname on and off the pitch with superhero performances against Eintracht Frankfurt and Cologne, but it's no joke. Batsman is a mind-set the striker has honed during his previous hardships. And it’s something he thrives on.
"I activate my Batman mode when the chips are down,” Batshuayi declared. "I love Batman's costume, strength, his discretion, his shadow. He's the guy who comes out at the right time to do his job. I had a teammate who nicknamed me 'Batsman' and it's also one of my favourite cartoons. It represents me well, both seriously and in a kind of manga way. I like it."
The former bad boy futsal lover has been on the search for a place he can truly call home since he was released by Brussels as a teenager. Now, with the fans, staff and his teammates on his side, it looks like the Batsman has finally found a cave he can call his own in Dortmund.