Luicen Fabre made the diagnosis less scientific and more accurate: "Paco Alcácer feels football".
The Dortmund coach answered the first thing that came to mind when last weekend he was asked how it was possible that, after two years without playing, the Spanish forward scored six goals in 83 minutes spread over three games this season, a pace that, if continued, would make him beat the record of 40 goals that Torpedo Müller established in a Bundesliga.
The statistics were triggered when on Thursday in Cardiff this 25-year-old Valencian with hardly any distinguishing signs jumped into the field stuffed into the uniform of Spain with his hair mixed and his beard a week. In the seventh minute, the ineffable occurred. What science can not determine. Why? Why when Gayá took that center-shot from outside the area and the ball bounced off Saúl, who barely managed to cushion him, in the random trajectory appeared Alcácer? The man took a step inside the area and as if he barely struggled to connect the ball, put the body in the right position and finished the squad. One touch. Neither the defenses nor the goalkeeper of Wales were able to react until the 0-1 went up to the scoreboard.
Half an hour later he put the 0-3 in the middle of the uproar caused by a poorly cleared center. Again a touch. Going out of nowhere. "Feeling" football, which Fabre would say in search of the metaphysical key.
He is not the fastest player, nor the tallest (1.76m), nor the most skilled. It is not the best header, nor has the body to go to the clash with the central as did Diego Costa. But Robert Fernandez, the sports director who along with Luis Enrique decided to sign him for Barça in the summer of 2016, believes that we are facing a nine capable of integrating itself into the team's model. Something that – due to the lack of space that leads to try to take the initiative in the opposite field – nobody has managed with continuity since the departure of David Villa.
"Paco is very smart in the field," says Robert Fernandez. "Take advantage of any situation. He knows how to be patient. It pulls very good break marks. It points to a place and then changes the trajectory and mistakes the defender. He is very clever when he goes to the first post, and if he plays in a team that attacks by the wings he can get a lot of profit. Because it drags the centrals and generates spaces for their teammates to enter. Messi enjoyed it in his day and the selection has a style similar to that of Barça. "
In the friendly of Wales, Alcácer left from the left tracing diagonals towards the peak of the area, where Morata was fixed. Now he has nine goals in nine shots between the three clubs this year. A reason for celebration in the concentration of Spain, in which Luis Enrique confesses astonished. "I did not imagine it," says the coach when he reflects on the team's resolving capacity, which has accumulated 12 goals in all three games since the World Cup in Russia. "This is a wonderful group. And let's not forget that there are four different players with respect to the first list [Alcácer, Jonny, Bartra y Koke], with which each time it will be more difficult to be, not already in the titular team but among those summoned. Now there is a larger group with more possibilities. "
Alcácer decided to leave Barça this summer with the same intelligence with which he moves in the area. "Having Luis Suárez, Messi, Dembelé and Coutinho is very difficult to give me minutes …", observed on Tuesday.
Barcelona gave it to Dortmund with a purchase option of 23 million. But from the German club they warn that, in case Barça receives a superior offer, to retain him they can only exercise a right of first refusal. The staff of Dortmund, who has received him as a benefactor, will miss him. Bürki, the goalkeeper, was surprised by his technique: "I never saw a hit like Alcácer's; by how he turns the ball forward by touching it with the instep and causing it to go up and down very quickly. "
"At Barça he learned a lot because he had good teachers," says Fernández. "He is right, but he also uses left-handed well. It is supported by a very strong undercarriage. It is muscularly powerful, with good adductors. Thus he achieves a dry shot with little race. And when he's on a roll, he has the goal in his head. Not for nothing holds the record for top scorer in the history of the Valencia school. "
Maybe the heir of David Villa has not yet appeared on the horizon. But Alcácer, Aspas, Rodrigo and Morata seem splendid alternatives.