Colombian striker Carlos Bacca was in tears on the bench when the final whistle sounded on Sevilla’s 3–2 win against Ukrainian underdogs Dnipro in the Europa League final. His two goals proved decisive in delivering the Spanish club’s second consecutive Europa League title and fourth in the last 10 years, giving them more Europa League/UEFA Cup titles than any other club in the tournament’s history (Juves, Inter, and Liverpool all have three each).
At the age of 20, Bacca was struggling to provide for his family with football alone in Colombia, so he had to work as a bus driver’s assistant (which is apparently a real job). From Marca:
“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 trialled for Junior de Barranquilla and, thank God, they took me.”
Now 28 years old, Bacca has scored 46 goals in 104 appearances for Sevilla with two Europa League winner’s medals for his trouble and seems poised for another step up in the footballing world — especially if he continues his good form in this summer’s Copa America.
Further reading: What Premier League clubs can learn from Sevilla [FourFourTwo]