FC Salzburg's perfect UEFA Europa League record this season owes a lot to the form of forward Jonatan Soriano – a man who is relishing his team's progress in a "beautiful and prestigious" competition.
Soriano's seven goals have propelled him to the top of the tournament scoring chart – and the Austrian club into the round of 16 where they meet FC Basel 1893, semi-finalists last term. Though Salzburg won all six of their group stage games, they caught the eye even more in the last 32, cruising to a 6-1 aggregate success against AFC Ajax.
"For us, it was very important to win, as Ajax were probably one of the favourites to win the Europa League – plus it's Ajax, one of the big clubs in Europe," said Soriano, formerly with RCD Espanyol, Albacete Balompié and FC Barcelona B. "They came down from the Champions League, having been eliminated from that, and we were drawn against them. Step by step, with hard work and humility, we can make it through the next rounds.
"I think that a competition is made big by the teams playing in it, and this season there are more important teams who are turning this competition into a beautiful and really prestigious one," added the 28-year-old Spaniard, who also hit a hat-trick in August's UEFA Europa League play-offs. "It's really nice and special for us as we're playing in a competition which has been very tough, and there are a lot of teams who want to win it."
To hear more from Soriano and coach Roger Schmidt, including the player's recollections of his stunning 50-metre strike against Ajax, watch the video above.
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