Getting To Know: Jordi Alba

BARCELONA, SPAIN - AUGUST 19: Jordi Alba of FC Barcelona runs with the ball during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Sociedad de Futbol at Camp Nou on August 19, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Full name: Jordi Alba Ramos
Squad No: 18
Position: Left-back
Date of birth: 21 March 1989
Place of birth: L'Hospitalet, Spain
Height: 1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)
Weight: 69 kg (152 lbs)

Born in L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, located to the immediate southwest of Barcelona, Jordi Alba made his first football steps for the youth ranks of local club CE L'Hospitalet at the age of seven. Just two years later he was noticed by FC Barcelona and joined La Masia in 1998. Even though Alba progressed well trough Barça's youth ranks he was released by the club after the conclusion of the 2004/05 season.

Alba therefore joined another local club, UE Cornellà, where he quickly impressed and caught the eye of Valencia CF who signed him for €6,000 in July 2007. There he first joined the club's B team and immediately became a key player and was crucial to the club's promotion to the Tercera División.

To offer more playing time to the then 19-year old full-back Valencia loaned Alba to Gimnàstic de Tarragona to the Segunda División for one season. For the Catalan club he made 35 appearances, scored four goals and added one assist.

After Alba returned from his loan spell he was promoted to Valencia's first team for the 2009/10 season. At first he and Jérémy Mathieu alternated time at left back, but because both were playing too good to remain on the bench both of them saw playing time on the left wing as well as at left-back. Because of Alba's lack of size some believed he should make a permanent switch to the wing, but Jordi's defensive awareness improved year after year and his blazing speed allowed him to remain very involved in the offense. Over a three year span Alba made 110 appearances for Los Che, scored six goals and assisted on seven more.

Alba's performances catapulted him to the top of Barcelona's 2012-13 wish list and after the two clubs agreed on a €14 million transfer fee Tito Vilanova's first signing was completed. Alba signed a five-year contract with the club that includes a €90 million buy-out clause. So far Alba has appeared in four games for Blaugrana and he already assisted on one goal.

Jordi Alba's first international appearance was with Spain's U-19 team in 2006 and since then he appeared for the U-20, U-21, U-23 and for the senior team. He made his senior debut on 11 October 2011 against Scotland and he immediately made his presence felt as he helped his team with an assist. Since his debut for La Furia Roja Alba has appeared in eleven games, scored one goal (in the EURO 2012 Final) and assisted on three goals. Alba also represented Spain in the 2012 Olympic games.

Profile
Jordi Alba is a technically very gifted and fast attacking left-back who can also be used as a left winger. His pace and stamina allow him to be very involved in both offense and defense as he can get from one end of the pitch to the other very quickly. For a player of his height he is remarkably good when given defensive responsibilities but, like Dani Alves, can get caught out of position when playing high upfield. He is not a threat in the air game.

Honors
Spain

  • UEFA European Football Championship (1): 2012

Individual

  • UEFA Euro Team of the Tournament (1): 2012

Next up: Alex Song

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