By Ben Hayward | Spanish Football Writer
Carlos Bacca is making up for lost time. The Sevilla striker is currently enjoying his moment in the spotlight since scoring both goals in the 2-1 win at home to Real Madrid last week and is proving a revelation in his side's ever-improving season. At one point, however, it looked like he'd never make it this far.
An explosive striker with good technique and an impressive eye for goal, Bacca rose to prominence in his hometown of Barranquilla in Colombia, a place better known for its most notable native: Shakira. But while the singer found fame internationally, Bacca was still turning out in the country's second division (Primera B) at the age of 22.
Unable to secure promotion with Barranquilla FC, Bacca was spotted by city rivals Junior de Barranquilla (the team he himself had supported since childhood) in 2009 and sealed a move to the top-flight side after finishing as top scorer with 15 goals in the Primera B.
At Junior, he made an instant impact and hit 23 goals in 41 games over two tournaments in 2009 and a similar streak brought an international call-up in 2010. In a 1-1 friendly draw against Bolivia in La Paz, Bacca headed Colombia's goal, but didn't return to the national set-up for over two years.
|CARLOS BACCA | Sevilla, Striker, 27
In the meantime, however, he kept scoring and in January 2012, moved to Belgian side Club Brugge. And after netting three times in 10 games in the remainder of the 2011-12 campaign, the Colombian was a huge hit in his second season, finishing as top scorer with 25 goals in 35 league matches.
Scouts from across Europe took note, but Sevilla swooped to sign Bacca (who has been likened to the club's former forward Luis Fabiano) as a replacement for Alvaro Negredo, in a €7m deal which now looks like a bargain. With 19 goals from 42 games so far (including three in two against Real Madrid), Bacca has emerged from the relative obscurity of the Colombian Second Division in the space of only five years.
Back then, he was selling bus tickets to supplement his income and struggling to make a living from football. Now, he's gearing up for the World Cup and cementing a reputation as one of Europe's finest forwards. It's quite a transformation.
"Bacca is an extraordinary striker," former Sevilla and Spain forward Rafa Paz told Goal. "There are some moments when he seems isolated, but then he pops up and scores like the very best. He has that hunger to show us that he's a great player and ready to sign for a big team."
But with a real resurgence taking place at the Sanchez Pizjuan under Unai Emery, including a recent run of six straight victories, a return to Spain's top five and a place in the last eight of the Europa League (a competition they won as the Uefa Cup in 2006 and 2007), Sevilla will hope their new star stays exactly where he is.
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