Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates scoring their fourth goal against Everton
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has a glitzy lifestyle that sometimes attracts all the wrong kind of attention.
Fast, expensive super-cars in a variety of garish wraps, flashy clothes and an attitude to match – it’s a good job Aubameyang can walk the walk.
Arsenal’s new African star has vowed he’ll never change his style.
And if the wider world doesn’t like it — that’s tough.
If the 28-year-old Gabon ace takes down Manchester City in the Carabao Cup Final at Wembley today, Gunners fans won’t care what he drives or wears.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arrives in a Lamborghini at Dortmund training
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on a flash holiday
Aubameyang certainly loves a big stage – but his distinctive ways, and occasional contempt for authority, landed him in trouble with his bosses at Borussia Dortmund.
When he left, there were few tears shed.
Arsenal haven’t seen that side of their record £54million signing – but Aubameyang insists nothing has changed.
He said: “The clothes, the cars and all that are a bonus. I enjoy living this way.
“I like who I am and it doesn’t matter if other people can’t accept that – it goes over my head.
“As they say ‘you only live once’. It’s important to know where you come from and where your roots are – the rest is a big bonus.”
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal during a training session at London Colney
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alysha Behague
Having signed a reported £180,000-a-week contract when he joined Arsenal from Dortmund – where he scored 141 goals in 213 games - the French-born striker can easily fund a lavish lifestyle.
But growing up it wasn’t the riches that attracted him to football, just the pure joy of playing – and the ambition of following his father Pierre into the professional game.
Aubameyang recalled: “When I was kid I would go to the stadium to watch my dad Pierre play when he was at Le Havre, Toulouse, Nice and Rouen. It was incredible. After his matches I would play on my own in the living room.
“I’d mimic the fans and then give interviews just like I do today! I am living my childhood dream. I think that is something magnificent for a child like me.”
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is house hunting and has his eyes on this amazing £16m mansion
For those around him as a youngster, there were never any doubts Aubameyang would be a star.
Clarisse Guinoiseau, his first junior coach, in his hometown of Laval, said: “He made us laugh with his somersaults, just like he does now on TV.
“He scored lots of goals and it was a joy to watch him. He was so much better than the others. He always had a ball with him and was playing football – the ball was his best friend.
“But he always kept his feet on the ground. He’s the person he always was. What did I teach him? I think I taught him to stay modest, to stay true to himself and remember where he came from.”
Guinoiseau’s son Rudi was Aubameyang’s close friend and said: “If we were going for sweets or to the baker he had his ball with him. He was so passionate about football. I mean, I loved the game, but his passion even as kids was on another level.”
It wasn’t all plain sailing for Aubameyang, who at one stage saw his blistering pace disappear.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates
He is rumoured to be even faster over 30 metres than Usain Bolt, having once clocked 3.7sec for the distance. But as a teenager he struggled to retain his greatest weapon.
“When I was younger there were times when I lost my pace as I was having growth spurts,” Aubameyang told Kick Off in Germany.
“But I got my pace back. I wanted to be like my dad, he played for Gabon and he even captained the side and I have done the same.” Even today his father – who played 80 times for Gabon – is a key figure in his life and was a visible presence as he signed for Arsenal.
Pierre Snr (left) said: “I think my own career was very present in his development. He listened to my advice as a footballer.”
And Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is hoping Auba will fire them to his first League Cup victory.
He said: “He was not at his best physically and we have taken advantage of the last two weeks to build him up.
“He is sharper and our target will be to find him two or three times in each half in dangerous positions.”