Barcelona’s belief in the talent of full-back Alejandro Balde is unquestionable, and the club were quick to renew his contract until 2028 at the end of September. However, as highlighted by Marca, the 20-year-old has found playing time hard to come by in recent games and appears to have lost his prominence in the team in recent weeks as Xavi has been favouring Joao Cancelo over the academy product.
Balde first made the move to the first team under Ronald Koeman in the 2021/22 season, but after the departure of Jordi Alba to the MLS, Balde became one of the first names on the team sheet, making 44 appearances last season. The current season started very much in the same vain as the Spaniard was the indisputable starter at left-back. However, in their last five matches, he has made just one appearance against Rayo Vallecano, while Cancelo has started out of his natural position in the other four, including in the Champions League against FC Porto and Atlético Madrid.
The club believe wholeheartedly in the talent of the 20-year-old, but a clear message is being sent. To play in the starting 11, he needs to up his game, and a little competition is thought to be the perfect opportunity for him to make progress.
GSFN | Finn Entwistle