Paco Alcacer says he feels important again since joining Borussia Dortmund after being overlooked for two years at Barcelona.The 25-year-old striker joined the Catalans from Valencia in 2016 but made only 23 league appearances in two years at Camp Nou, struggling to displace the likes of Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi.After signing for Dortmund on a season-long loan deal in August, Alcacer impressed so much that the German club announced in October they would make it a permanent switch for €23 million (£20m/$26.5m). Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Speaking to Sport Bild, Alcacer said: “Since joining BVB, I’m finally feeling important again. I’ve played very little in Barcelona for the past two years. That’s why I understand that I haven’t always played from the start so far.”Every footballer wants to play. I’m not happy when I’m sitting on the bench. But if we’re having so much success as a team, it’s OK. Because getting a title is always great.”I only have one thing in my head: I want to score goals and help the team. This has worked perfectly in the past few months.”Actually, I’ve been a little surprised with the ease that I’ve been scoring the goals with. But I have to say that my teammates have a big part in it. They often make it easy for me to score.Alcacer is the joint top scorer in the Bundesliga, tied with Frankfurt’s Luka Jovic on 12 goals despite playing half as many minutes as the 21-year-old.In fact, Alcacer has made just 12 appearances in the league and only five starts after being hampered by injury problems, although a substitute role has suited the forward with 10 of his strikes coming from the bench.”If you suddenly have to play every three days after not playing regularly for two years, that’s a big change for the body. I was aware of that,” Alcacer continued.”But I work with the coaching team to get my body up to 100 per cent efficiency. I want to avoid injuries in the second half of the season.” Dortmund return to action with a trip to RB Leipzig on January 19 following the winter break in Germany.
European Union (EU) countries can improve the management of refugee problems by focusing on reinforcing protection in the regions of origin, building greater capacity in transit countries and improving the quality of the EU’s own asylum systems, according to the head of the United Nations refugee agency.“By reinforcing protection in regions of origin, and ensuring that refugees can find solutions there, we can reduce the pressure for onward movement,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers told an informal meeting of European Interior Ministers over the weekend in Luxembourg.He said that for this to happen, there needed to be more resources and closer coordination between interior, foreign and development ministries as well as with the European Commission.Although refugee numbers worldwide are going down – currently just under 10 million, or about half what they were a decade ago – there are still too many long-lasting refugee problems, he noted.He cited the case of Afghanistan – the largest group of asylum seekers arriving in Europe in 2001 – as an example of how a concerted effort in the region of origin can provide a clear dividend in terms of reduced flows to Europe. “There is certainly a link between the sharp decline in the number of Afghan asylum seekers in Europe and the massive return to Afghanistan,” he said.Turning to the issue of transit countries, through which refugees and economic migrants pass through on their way to Europe, Mr. Lubbers suggested that improving asylum conditions there would also help reduce onward movement. “But this will take time,” he warned. “Therefore, I strongly counsel against any precipitous initiative to declare such countries ‘safe,’ in the absence of acceptable protection safeguards.”