EXCLUSIVE: The Colombian says he cannot match the duo's scoring exploits but is determined to get Sevilla into the Champions League under the "annoying" Unai Emery
By Francisco Rico
Sevilla striker Carlos Bacca admits Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo "are in a league of their own" when it comes to the race to be crowned La Liga's top goalscorer.
Real Madrid star Ronaldo currently tops the Pichichi charts with 38 goals from 28 appearances, four ahead of Messi, with third-placed Neymar way back on 18.
Bacca is pleased with his own haul of 17 goals in 31 games, which has helped propel Sevilla into the top-four race, but concedes that it is unlikely any player will be able to catch the world's most lethal attackers.
"I'm happy to have contributed with 17 goals in such a competitive championship but the fight between Messi and Cristiano is in a league of its own," he told Goal in an exclusive interview.
"Neymar and [Antoine] Griezmann are above me but they are at big teams like Barcelona and Atletico Madrid. We have to appreciate the work that is being done in a big team like Sevilla.
"Reaching the Champions League has been our hope from the beginning of the season and we are not going to hide it. There are a few games left and we still have a chance.
"Of course the ambition will increase but we have to keep our feet on the ground because we are competing against two big teams like Atletico Madrid and Valencia. But we are three points behind and we will not give up."
Sevilla lifted the Europa League trophy last season and have continued to challenge the best in Spain in 2014-15 under the guidance of Unai Emery.
Bacca admits the coach's insatiable appetite for the game can get on the nerves of players but feels his own personality makes the duo a perfect match.
"Unai Emery is a coach who never relaxes and always tries to get the best performances from both me and my colleagues," said the Colombia international. "That forms the team's success.
"We drew at Barcelona and the next day he was already working to focus our minds on Zenit. He is a tireless person, which can be annoying for a player but that is the basis of his success.
"I am a nonconformist. Thank goodness I work with this mentality every day to give my best performances."
Ivan Rakitic was the shining star for Sevilla last season before his summer transfer to Barcelona and Bacca says the Croatia international will never be forgotten at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
"Ivan Rakitic is a great player. I spoke to him and he remains the same humble, hard-working person," said Bacca.
"As a striker, you always want to play alongside those great players who give the final pass that can leave you one-on-one with the goalkeeper. He left but we have great players like Denis Suarez or [Ever] Banega, who are giving us a hand.
"Sevilla will never forget Rakitic but we are filling his place very well."
Finally, Bacca was keen to stress he is not himself considering leaving the club he joined in 2013 any time soon.
"I have a contract for four years. I am happy here and my family enjoys [it]. I leave everything in God's hands," the 28-year-old added.