Left out in the cold at Barcelona, Paco Alcacer has blossomed into one of Europe's most efficient strikers under Borussia Dortmund's warm and watchful gaze.
The loan deal that took him from Barca to BVB in the summer was made permanent in double-quick time, and he has earned a recall to the Spain national team after a two-and-a-half-year absence.
bundesliga.com caught up with Paco-man at the Black-Yellows' winter training camp in Marbella, Spain, to get his thoughts on his prolific introduction to life in the Bundesliga, his path to professional football and his aspirations for the rest of the campaign with league leaders Dortmund...
bundesliga.com: Did you expect your first few months in Dortmund to go so well?
Paco Alcacer: Honestly, no. But the team and the club did such a good job of welcoming me in, and that made me feel right at home. It gives you confidence, while the quality of the other players has also made me into a better player.
Watch: Paco Alcacer's game dissected
bundesliga.com: What do you think of the Bundesliga?
Alcacer: It's a demanding and fun league. The fans do their bit, which makes it even nicer to play here and is great in matches.
bundesliga.com: And what about playing in Dortmund's Signal Iduna Park stadium?
Alcacer: Not much needs to be said. You just have to look at how the fans get behind the team right until the final whistle. It gives the team confidence and it's also a reason why it's been going so well for us.
bundesliga.com: What was it like scoring your first Bundesliga goal, against Frankfurt?
Alcacer: I was really happy. It was great to score a goal, having not played for so long. My goal helped the team to win.
bundesliga.com: You're currently on 12 goals. Is your objective to finish the season as top scorer?
Alcacer: It'd be nice, of course, but it's not my objective. Scoring goals isn't everything. We'll have to see if it's on the agenda towards the end of the season, but right now it's all about the team. I want to work hard and score goals to help the team. And if the team's in good shape that helps me, too.
bundesliga.com: Ten of your 12 goals have come as a substitute - what's your secret?
Alcacer: My teammates! Strikers live on goals, but they're nothing without the support of the team. You're dependent on good passes from the players behind you and there's more than enough of that in the team.
bundesliga.com: Do you prefer to be on the pitch at the start or at the end of matches?
Alcacer: I want to play. To start games is my objective. Even if I've scored 10 times as a sub, I don't want to stay on the bench. I want to start games and help the team with goals, assists and hard work.
bundesliga.com: What's the most important goal you've scored in the Bundesliga so far?
Alcacer: In terms of importance, I'd say my goal against Bayern because it turned out to be the winner. It was Axel Witsel's sensational through-ball that put me one-on-one with the goalkeeper. I also remember my hat-trick as a substitute against Augsburg. They're all nice moments that have helped the team win games.
bundesliga.com: What was it like when you scored the winner in the 3-2 victory over Bayern?
Alcacer: When I'm in front of goal, I don't get nervous or ask myself what other people are thinking. Your only thought is to score. It went in and everyone was over the moon. You could feel and see it.
bundesliga.com: Was that a key moment during the first half of the season?
Alcacer: There are important moments like that one, but you have to be looking at the here and now - not the past or into the future. Whatever it is, if you only think about the future, you lose sight of the present and that's no good. What we've accomplished so far is great: we're top and on a good run, but we mustn't rest on our laurels. We need to take things one game at a time.
bundesliga.com: Was football always your favourite sport?
Alcacer: Yes, football's always been part of my life. Whenever we left the house, it was always to play football or for something to do with it. We always had a football.
bundesliga.com: When did you realise 'I can score goals'? Was it as a kid?
Alcacer: Scoring goals was always what I liked most. I never played in midfield or defence - I was always a striker. At some point you start to think you might be able to do it at the highest level. For me, that was when I took part in pre-season training with Valencia at 16. You start thinking about becoming a professional. You adjust your lifestyle accordingly. You stop going out with friends so much, and pay more attention to your body and diet. And you plan your career. It's also important to have the support of your parents and family to build your confidence and go on to achieve something in football.
bundesliga.com: Was there any coach in particular at Valencia that left a lasting impression on you?
Alcacer: They've all been important. Each one had his own characteristics, but all wanted the best of their players. At the end of the day, the coach is responsible for the success of the team. And if the team is successful, it's also good for me.
bundesliga.com: What about Dortmund coach Lucien Favre?
Alcacer: He's a good person and a perfectionist. He talks a lot with the players and helps you if you have any worries or doubts, which is good for us. He's good at conveying his idea of good football.
bundesliga.com: Your Bundesliga career has only just started, but Arjen Robben's is coming to an end. How do you rate the Bayern man?
Alcacer: I was lucky enough to see him play in Spain. He's unbelievable in the one-on-ones. He makes it look so easy when he floats inside and picks out the far post. He's scored so many goals, and was a hugely important player in Germany and Spain. There's not much else to add, but he's a top player.
bundesliga.com What are you hoping for in 2019?
Alcacer: In my personal life, good health for me and my family. Football-wise, I want us to fulfil our objectives. If we do, it's going to be a fantastic year.