"Sometimes I get nice goals but what's best is if they're important," says Alan. The group stage's top scorer is emerging from Jonatan Soriano's shadow at FC Salzburg.
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At FC Salzburg since 2010, Alan has been overshadowed by Jonatan Soriano in past seasons but the Brazilian forward is stealing the limelight this time around; UEFA.com gets the lowdown on the UEFA Europa League group stage's six-goal top scorer.
Clubs: Londrina EC, Fluminense FC, FC Salzburg
UEFA honours: none
• Born on 10 July 1989 in Barbosa, Brazil, Alan Douglas Borges de Carvalho came through the ranks at Guarani FC, moving to Sao Paulo at 16 to join Londrina, the club where FC Bayern München hero Giovane Élber was discovered.
• Salzburg signed Alan in 2010 after watching him in action for Fluminense; then 21, he agreed a four-year contract, with coach Huub Stevens seeing him as a replacement for Alexander Zickler and Marc Janko. However, he did not settle instantly, as Salzburg missed out on the 2010/11 UEFA Champions League and the Austrian Bundesliga title – though he scored ten goals in 24 league appearances.
• The following season went better for Salzburg, as they won a domestic double, but Alan missed the bulk of the campaign after tearing cruciate ligaments against SK Rapid Wien in the sixth matchday of the season. It took him 18 months to return – in another game against Rapid, on 24 February 2013. With 11 goals in 14 outings, he helped Salzburg to second place that term.
• Alan registered 26 times in 29 Bundesliga matches as Salzburg landed another double last season; amazingly, his total was exceeded by team-mate Jonatan Soriano with 31. Soriano also beat Alan 8-5 in terms of UEFA Europa League goals, but Salzburg had no hesitation in giving the Brazilian another four-year deal ahead of the 2014/15 campaign.
• His six strikes in four group stage games this term include a hat-trick against GNK Dinamo Zagreb, and while his Bundesliga haul stands at a comparatively modest nine from 15, he has hit seven in two Austrian Cup ties. His treble against FK Austria Wien on 6 December was his seventh of 2014 for the club.
• Alan is eager to take up Austrian citizenship to get a chance to play for the national side, explaining: "I have had positive talks with the national team coach and the sporting director. I would like to play with David Alaba and Marko Arnautović."
What they say ...
"He is an incredibly versatile attacker, who can be deployed in different positions."
Former Salzburg sporting director Dietmar Beiersdorfer
"We are happy to have reached an early extension with Alan and to now own completely his transfer rights. He has returned in impressive fashion after his long injury break and improves our team with his quality."
Salzburg sporting director Ralf Rangnick, when Alan's contract was extended
He says ...
"I want to win the league with Salzburg and play my part in it. But the coach will decide if it is by scoring goals or as a player off the pitch, supporting the team. Sometimes I score nice goals, but what's best is for them to be important – that's even nicer."