Let’s be honest… no one had money on young Alejandro Balde being the player to solve Barcelona’s defensive issues at left-back.
Though he hasn’t come from nowhere and has been on the radar of those that follow the youth teams at the club, it’s doubtful anyone could’ve foreseen just what a spectacular impression he would make on the first team.
His youthful exuberance, fearlessness and competitive edge make an intoxicating mix, and it’s therefore no surprise that he is coveted by some of European football’s big hitters.
If reports in the Spanish media are correct, the Catalans are close to tying him down to a new, longer term contract, but they best move quickly to secure his signature because this kid is going to be a mainstay for years.
A little raw in some aspects of his play, he is, nonetheless, as brave as they come, and that will appeal massively to Xavi.
It has been an absolute joy to watch him shuttling up and down the left - or right - channel, and he can be forgiven the odd mistake whilst still learning his trade.
Luis Enrique is a shrewd judge of a player too, and even though this World Cup has come too early for Balde, the fact that the 18-year-old is even in the conversation tells us much.
Barca have a real gem on their hands and, alongside Jules Kounde, Ronald Araujo and, potentially, Inigo Martinez, he will form part of arguably the best defensive line in La Liga.
Not forgetting the likes of Eric Garcia, Marcos Alonso, Sergi Roberto, Jordi Alba and Andreas Christensen as back up.
Xavi really can count his blessings when everyone is fit.
The worst thing that Balde can do now of course is start to be more considered in his play.
A big part of his appeal at this point is those marauding runs that he regularly goes on, leaving all comers trailing in his slipstream.
He has displayed strength, positional sense and tactical acumen to compliment that ability in possession, and once those occasional defensive lapses are ironed out, Barca have some player on their hands.
With the Blaugranes sitting pretty at the top of the Spanish top flight for at least the next month, Alejandro Balde can be content in the knowledge that he’s played a major part in getting the team there.