Find out how Xavi’s teenage wonderkid Alejandro Balde will help to make Barca great again with his amazing performance as a Left Back.
Made in Barca
Alejandro Balde joined FC Barcelona in 2011 at the age of eight after coming up through the ranks of RCD Espanyol. In July 2021, he signed a contract renewal with Barcelona until 2024 with a release clause of 500 million euros. Balde impressed during pre-season in the summer of 2021 and began the new campaign as Jordi Alba’s primary backup.
On 14th September 2021, we witnessed him for the first time in Blaugrana colours when he replaced Jordi Alba in the 74th minute during the game against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League. It’s unquestionable that he was the best player for Barcelona in that game even though he played only a few minutes.
Alejandro Balde, via IG: “Ever since I came here at the age of 7, my dream was to debut with the first team. Today, 11 years later, I was able to debut in the Champions League. It was not the expected result, but we’ll keep fighting! Visça el Barça”
Balde has been impressing Europe ever since his debut and plays as a regular player in Xavi’s ‘dream team’.
A Generational Talent
From the beginning, Alejandro Balde was considered one of the brightest talents coming through the ranks of La Masia academy and is projected to have a long and a successful career at the club. He’s got many potentials in his locker that can make him a great left back in the future.
He’s extremely quick in his first 2 meters and he uses that to great effect. He’s such an asset to have against teams that defend deep because why bother having width when you have a player than can run at the defence penetrating spaces?
Balde is technically a very solid player which will help him during pressurized situations when defending. His high pace not only helps him in attacking but in defending as well. The only attribute he needs to work on is his decision making skills which is quite questionable sometimes but I’m sure he will improve it with more games under his belt.
For a teenager, he’s already an elite footballer with the world at his shoulders. Only Bayern’s Jamal Musiala has more assists than Alejandro Balde from the players under 20 in the top 5 European leagues this season.
We already have seen glimpses of his passing range and crossing abilities during the recent games. He displayed a MOTM performance against Real Betis recently where Barca scored the opening goal thanks to Frenkie De Jong’s intelligence to take a quick free-kick and find Balde in a great position who played the perfect cross to Raphinha at the far post to score a tap-in.
First Choice: Alba or Balde?
Jordi Alba has been one of the most underrated footballers of our generation and is a legend at the club. When he’s at his best, Alba is unstoppable. But during the recent seasons, he was being criticized for being sloppy in defense and not being consistent. Alba never had a player that can compete or push him for a starting position at left back in the team until Balde made his way to the squad. It’s quite remarkable how we went from having just one player at left back to having 3 solid players with the likes of Alba, Balde and our recent signing Marcos Alonso who extended his contract until 2024 as well. But who should be Xavi’s starter?
While Alonso will most probably play as a reserve, the question lies between Alba and Balde. Balde and Alba are different players with different styles of play and I think Xavi has the luxury to use either according to the opposition.
Against teams such as Athletic Club or Real Betis, when Xavi decided to play with a high defense line, he used Balde who’s more of a ball carrier compared to Alba. But against teams such as Villareal and Sevilla, Xavi picked Jordi Alba for his passing abilities and experience. Balde has the pace and the skillset to carry the ball at defenses but comparatively lacks the creative passing and movement to exploit deep defenses like Jordi Alba.
Thus the decision relies on Xavi’s tactical plan ahead of the game as both of the choices he got in his pocket are solid and reliable. Alba will provide his service for a maximum of 1 or 2 seasons more for Barcelona and the left back responsibility will essentially lie in the hands of the wonderkid, Alejandro Balde.
Will Xavi incline more towards Jordi Alba at the business end of this season or will he put his faith in the teenager?
Future at the club
Barca had a plan in place for a while with regard to renewing Balde’s contract at the club. His current deal expires at the end of next season, but a new contract until 2027 has been offered to the teenager.
However, his performances in Spain appear to have caught the eye of Premier League clubs with Arsenal and Newcastle keen to test whether Barcelona would be willing to sell one of their prized assets, according to Football Espana. I really don’t believe Juan Laporta will let Balde leave the club as he’s a generational talent that will help Barca reach the top again.
The world is not yet ready to see a defense with the likes of Jules Kounde, Ronald Araujo, Andreas Christensen and the teenage sensation, Alejandro Balde. Xavi is on his way to building a dream team that will last for almost a decade to come.
Barca never had a solid defense as they were always known for their ‘Tiki Taka’ attackers and midfielders.
We are about to witness a Blaugrana Wall that will conquer and colour Europe for many years.
Who should be Xavi’s first choice left back this season?
What does Balde bring to the current Barcelona team?
Comment down below.