Alejandro Balde made his Barcelona debut in the Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich and could be handed the chance to impress in the first team now Jordi Alba has been ruled out with injury.
Congratulations to Alejandro Balde, who made his Barça debut tonight! #BarçaBayern pic.twitter.com/1zXYY3hmZn— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) September 14, 2021
Barcelona confirmed on Wednesday that Alba has a hamstring problem with early reports suggesting the Spain international will miss up to a month of action. If the report proves true then Alba will miss games against Granada, Cadiz, Levante, Benfica, and Atletico Madrid.
Ronald Koeman will need a replacement and will surely consider Balde now. The youngster looked lively in his 16 minutes on the pitch against Bayern and will be hoping he’s done enough to convince his manager he deserves a run in the team, starting against Granada on Monday.
The 18-year-old admitted after the match he’s hoping for more playing time.
“The debut was a dream come true despite the result. I have been working long and hard since I came to this club and I’m very happy.
“I didn’t expect to get on. But when Jordi asked to come off, I got 30 seconds to warm up and then I was on. So many things were running through my head, but I was really ready for it.
“From here on, I hope to get more playing time and to gain experience, keep training with the lads and learn from the best.”
Source | FC Barcelona
Balde is the only other specialized left-back available to Ronald Koeman and looks a good bet to start next time out. The Dutchman may be tempted to use Sergi Roberto or Sergino Dest on the opposite flank and does go into the game under a bit of pressure after the Bayern defeat.
The one thing in Koeman’s favor right now, and which may help keep him in the job for the time being, is his willingness to offer youngsters playing time which is also surely good news for Balde.
Meanwhile, the club have already demonstrated ther faith in the teenager, handing the youngster a new deal in July that runs until 2024 and contains a buyout clause set at 500 million euros.