January Break Report: Jordi Alba

David Ramos

With the players on holiday until 2013, we are looking at the performances so far. How has Jordi Alba performed in his first year in the Barcelona senior team after being signed in the summer from Valencia?

Jordi Alba is back home. The former La Masia attendee had spent years at Cornella, Gimnastic, and Valencia. But after a great La Liga campaign, he locked the starting spot for Spain at left-back. After impressive results at the Euros, Barcelona made him one of their only two summer signings.

He has fit into the system smoothly, continuing his association with Andres Iniesta, Xavi, and the rest. "I've joined the ideal team for the skills I have," Alba told Mundo Deportivo.

Alba gives Barca width and speed down the left-flank, which he's used to contribute two goals and four assists this season. Both his goals have been to give Barcelona a lead.

Defensively, he still has a bit to improve to be considered one of the best, but with his superior speed, he can make up for mistakes. He leads the team in interceptions per game this season according to WhoScored.com.

It's still unclear if he is first-choice or if he's yet to unseat Adriano, but in a way it doesn't matter, especially wtih the Brazilian able to switch to the right side. With 20 starts so far, he is sixth on the team, behind only Lionel Messi, Victor Valdes, Xavi, Pedro, and Sergio Busquets.

Alba has re-adapted quickly, as if he never did leave in the first place. With each passing game he endears himself to the Cule faithful.

"It's incredible the amount of people moved by Barca," Alba said. "I notice the huge support on the streets, everyone wishes me well, but also when we're away from Catalonia or traveling through Europe."

Lowest point:

Alba's biggest mistake was scoring an own goal minutes after Messi had scored an incredible solo goal to put Barca 5-3 ahead of Deportivo La Coruña.

The resilient opposition had come from 0-3 down and put ten-man Barca under huge pressure. Messi seemed to have finally put them to rest, but Alba lit their hopes yet again. The Blaugrana were able to hold on, thankfully.

Highest point:

Though Alba did score a goal in the match against Depor, his most memorable moment was scoring a goal in added time in the Champions League against Celtic. With Barcelona drawing 1-1, Adriano swung in a cross from the right which Alba was able to poke into the net.

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