Paco Alcacer has been in blistering form after making the 'right step' in joining Borussia Dortmund on loan. Europe’s deadliest striker now wants to hit the heights on the international circuit.
Alcacer has made just one start since leaving Barcelona in search of regular first-team football, but is currently scoring at a rate of a goal every 24 minutes in Black and Yellow. The Spaniard's hat-trick in the 4-3 win over Augsburg took his tally to seven goals in four games in all competitions.
"I'm just incredibly happy in Dortmund,” the 25-year-old told German publication Bild. "For me, Dortmund was exactly the right step at the right time. It's just fun at Dortmund, with the unbelievable fans behind us. The club, the team and the fans have welcomed me incredibly. I'm just trying to thank them with my efforts and goals.”
The next best records in Europe's top five leagues belong to AC Milan's Patrick Cutrone (33 min./goal) and Augsburg's Alfred Finnbogason (43 min./ goal). Meanwhile, the highest scoring striker amongst the continent's elite, Genoa's Krzysztof Piatek, has netted every 53 minutes to score 13 goals in his eight appearances.
Alcacer filling Barca with regret
Spare a thought for parent club Barcelona, who are currently in the midst of a four-game winless streak in La Liga. What they would have given for a dynamic super sub capable of changing games against Girona, Leganes, Athletic Bilbao or Valencia?
"I took the decision to leave and go elsewhere in order to find playing time and enjoy my profession. At Barcelona, it's very difficult to have minutes with the quality of players that Barcelona has with [Lionel] Messi, Luis [Suarez] and Philippe [Coutinho],” admitted Alcacer at Spain's training base at Las Rozas outside Madrid.
It's with the national team the BVB striker is now looking to impress Luis Enrique, who kept him on the bench for much of his time at Barcelona: "Luis Enrique is a very professional coach, very direct. He explains things clearly, what he wants and what he doesn't want. I'm very proud to be here, it's the reward for all the work I've put in since the start of the season."
Chance to stake a claim with Spain
With Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa still out injured, Alcacer is competing with Alvaro Morata (Chelsea), Rodrigo (Valencia) and Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo) for playing time as he looks to add to his 13 caps and six goals. His last appearance for Spain came in March 2016.
"I've always wanted to come back to the national side. The level here is really high, so I will have to match that if I even want to be picked. But I want to contribute what I can and seize my opportunity when it comes along."
Spain follow up Thursday's friendly in Wales with a Nations League tie against World Cup semi-finalists England on Monday.
jt/mp (AP, AFP)