“At 20 I was living in my village, Puerto Colombia, working as a bus driver’s assistant. Life was far from easy. Next I had to work as a ticket collector on the buses because I come from a poor family and had to earn money to help them out. The doors of football had been closed to me for some time and at my age, it wasn’t something I could count on anymore. But that year I trialed for Junior de Barranquilla and thank God, they took me.”
Carlos Bacca told that to Spanish newspaper Marca two years ago. At the time he had just signed to Sevilla from the Belgian side Club Bruges after scoring 25 goals in 35 league appearances. Many considered that he would be a backup to Kevin Gameiro who joined the five-time Copa del Rey winners from Paris Saint-Germain. But Bacca had other plans. The Colombian international used the same determination that got him out of the slums of his homeland to make himself a permanent fixture in Sevilla’s starting lineup.
During his first season for the Sevillistas, Carlos scored 14 goals in 35 league appearances. His performances won him the best player from the Americas trophy in the LFP Awards beating Angel Di Maria and Neymar. His team also made it to the Europa League final where they faced Benfica. After a 0-0 draw the match went to a penalty shootout and Bacca scored the first spot kick for his squad as they went on to win 4-2. He was sensational during the whole tournament scoring seven goals in 16 appearances and his stock began to rise.
During the World Cup though he only played once in the 2-1 quarterfinal loss to Brazil coming into the game as a substitute in the 70th minute. Even though Radamel Falcao wasn’t on the World Cup roster due to recovering from his ACL injury, Bacca was behind Porto’s Jackson Martinez and River Plate’s Teofilo Gutierrez on the pecking order for striker. This gave him more motivation to know that he still had to prove himself and he headed into the 2014-15 season with a desire to become better.
During the season Carlos scored 20 goals and added six assists in 37 league appearances for Sevilla. His side also won back-to-back Europa League crowns defeating Ukraine’s Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk 3-2 in the final with Bacca scoring a brace and adding an assist. He was subbed out in the 82nd minute of the match and as the final whistle blew he sat alone on the bench crying. Some presumed he was overjoyed that he team won again and others believed that he was by himself because he knew in his heart that he just played his last game for Sevilla.
“It was a huge joy. It is a source of great pride for me to play for this club in a final and win it. We are the only club in the history that have won the Europa League four times. I’m proud to belong to this family, to belong to Seville. I cried after the match because I was really excited. I work every day to play well. I’m always demanding of myself. Thank God the match went well for me and for all the team,” said the 28-year-old to Goal.com after the Europa League final.
His manager Unai Emery, who also may be on the move soon, praised Carlos for his commitment to excellence.
“Bacca has great skills and qualities and is extraordinarily competitive. He wants more and more. Every time he’s on the pitch he wants to grow, you can call it hunger. He wants the ceiling to be higher and higher, he’s got great potential for this team. He wants to be the best player in the Champions League next season, for example. When he takes a step forward, he wants to take another one,” said Emery to the press after the final.
Clubs like AC Milan, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham are rumored to want him. Also, it seems he’ll feature for his country in the Copa America this summer. He may have started his career late but everything is coming at the perfect time for Bacca.
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