Manero

The Man Who Came from Bruges

By: Alfonso Duro

It’s not an easy feat to arrive to a new club and a new league and make an impact right away, but it’s even harder when you are coming in to replace a top star like Álvaro Negredo was at Sevilla. That’s exactly what Carlos Bacca did last summer—and he hasn’t stopped making people jaws drop since then. If Sevilla has any chance to make a run for La Liga, or to keep a Champions League qualifying spot, this is clinging mostly on the Colombian’s ability to keep dancing the Ras-tas-tas.

BIG SHOES TO FILL. Since the mid 2000s, Sevilla has consistently had very competitive teams, and although their biggest stars have systematically been sold for huge profits, the planning department has always been able to find adequate talent to fill the gap immediately. The case with Carlos Bacca was not different, as he quickly adapted to the culture of the team and made everyone forget Álvaro Negredo. Furthermore, Bacca’s performances in his first year with the team were so outstanding many compared him to Frédéric Kanoute, one of the club’s all-time top players. That in itself is a great compliment for the Colombian player, who couldn’t have imagined receiving, even in his wildest dreams, when he was suiting up for humble Club Brugge in Belgium.

NEYMAR, DI MARÍA? NOPE, BACCA IS THE BEST. But Carlos Bacca’s efforts with Sevilla have been appreciated not only by fans of the club. The Colombian has made a big splash in La Liga, and as such he was recognized as the best Latin American player in Spain in the 2013/14 season. When competing with talent like Barcelona’s Neymar and Real Madrid’s Di María, getting this award meant a lot for Carlos Bacca and for Sevilla—a team that, thanks to the Colombian, is battling to remain amongst La Liga’s royalty.

ALL EYES ON HIM. As Spider-Man says, “With great power comes great responsibility,” and Carlos Bacca has become such an important part of Sevilla’s output that even a two-game non-scoring streak gets everyone very worried in the club and the city. This is the reason why Unai Emery, his coach, has publicly put some pressure on him in the last few weeks. The Colombian has scored seven goals in 10 matches in Spain this season, along the lines of—among others—Lionel Messi, so there’s not much that can be held against the attacker in terms of his production. Yet, Bacca knows there is no turning back for him now. Having scored 25 goals last season, the Colombian personifies the hopes of the team, which are heavily depending on him, so if that means getting reprimanded by his manager when things don’t go completely as expected, Carlos Bacca will just have to suck it up.

Alfonso Duro is a Spanish freelance writer. When he's not managing Google's agency in the United Arab Emirates (his current job), chances are he's watching and writing about soccer.