Alejandro Balde has had a meteoric rise at Barcelona this season. The 18-year-old is currently Xavi’s 1st choice left back over the likes of Jordi Alba and Marcos Alonso. He is having an impressive season so far and has started most matches as the left-back. It is pretty astonishing to see an 18-year-old Academy player shutting out the veterans. Kudos to Xavi too as the Spaniard has believed in Balde and stopped him from moving on loan to any other club. Barcelona must be feeling ecstatic as their full-back problems now seem to be sorted.
This breakthrough has also benefited the U-21 Spanish national team. He had a call up to international duty recently and made an everlasting impression. Balde had a brilliant game against Norway this Tuesday. Luis De La Fuent also praised the Barcelona man and how he has unlimited talent and potential.
“Balde is a young kid with huge potential. He still has a lot to improve. What level can he reach? It depends on what he wants. If he’s professional, works hard, understands playing time, he will be a monster.”
So far, Balde has got 3 assists in La Liga and there is a lot riding on him this season. The teenage prodigy has a long and assured future at the club if he keeps on going in the same direction. It is also notable that he is currently starting over Alba and Alonso, 2 experienced veterans. It says a lot about Xavi and how he believes in Balde’s talent. Barcelona have really struggled on their left side defensively in recent seasons. As good as Jordi Alba is going forward, he is very suspect in defense which has eventually led to Balde’s discovery. Fans are hyped to see the teenager start and feature for the team again.
Is it time for the veterans to step down?
Veterans stepping back and youngsters stepping up, the scenes have changed with Xavi around. Frustration can be really seen on the faces of the Pique, Alba who are warming the bench this season. Xavi has trusted the likes of Christensen, and Garcia ahead of Pique. It is fair to say that the duo have not disappointed and have pleased Xavi so far. With Pique now 35, the veteran does not have the legs anymore to play every game.
The same is with Jordi Alba who is the third choice for Xavi. The 33-year-old is criticized a lot for his defending which has pushed him behind. Alex Balde and new signing Marcos Alonso are getting the minutes divided between themselves. This has surely left Alba frustrated but these bold actions pose a lot of questions. It finally feels like the end of an era at Barcelona.
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