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Hope springs eternal for Carles Alena at Barcelona

Midfielder making his mark

Deportivo Alaves v FC Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

There was an awful lot to admire about Barcelona’s performance at Alaves.

Though the hosts have fallen off the cliff in terms of their form, not so long ago Abelardo’s side were being talked about as an outside bet for a Champions League place.

All of the pre-match chatter centred around Lionel Messi being on the bench but Ernesto Valverde got his starting XI and substitutions spot on.

Philippe Coutinho is, evidently, getting some much needed confidence back, and on another night he would’ve scored at least one goal.

The movement and standard of passing for the most part was like watching the Barca of old too. Swift, crisp and incisive, it was a joy to see a team that are going to win the league title still hungry to prove themselves.

It would’ve been so much easier for the Blaugranes to meander through the 90 minutes, but that was never on the cards from the first minute, the visitors taking the game to their opponents from the off.

Perhaps the biggest bonus of the night was another high-quality showing from Carles Alena.

The youngster seems determined to prove his worth at the club, and that can only be a good thing from Barca’s point of view.

He’s had chances to go out on loan before now, and with the introduction of Frenkie de Jong to an already overbooked midfield, there are bound to be further offers for his services this summer.

However, we’re led to believe he will rebuff them all simply because he loves the club he’s been at for his entire career.

Having used the example of Sergi Roberto’s patience in recent interviews, Alena is clearly happy to continue working hard on the basis that his chance will come.

And as we saw on Tuesday night, he’ll grab it with both hands given the opportunity.

There’s no question he was Barcelona’s man of the match on the night, and an expertly taken opener merely put the cherry on top of the cake in terms of his performance.

Like Sergi, the 21-year-old has become something of a standard bearer for those young players in La Masia.

He’s proof that if you’re willing to put in the graft and then bide your time, you will be given a chance to progress.

The importance of the same can’t be overlooked when you consider the likes of Manchester City, PSG et al are all circling and willing to go the extra mile to acquire the best young academy players.

Thankfully, Alena is only just getting started and there’s plenty more to come from a player that bleeds blaugrana.

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