Sergio Gallardo


At just 18, the left-back has established himself as a regular in the Barça team



Teenage left-back Alejandro Balde has been one of the revelations of Barcelona’s new-look side this season.

The club youth product, who turns 19 in October, has displaced Jordi Alba in the Barça line-up, relegating the 33-year-old to a supporting role.

Balde has made a total of five appearances for Barça so far this season, all in LaLiga Santander.

In those five games, he has supplied three assists: one away to Real Sociedad, and two at home to Elche.

Impressive numbers for such a young player, who is establishing himself as a key figure in Xavi’s Barcelona side. He offers so much to the team…

Speed, quality on the ball, and the ability and confidence to take players on. Balde looks like he’s been playing in the first team his whole life.

And he’s no slouch defensively, either. When tasked with marking top players such as Erik Lamela and Alexander Isak, he’s been up to the challenge.

That said, head coach Xavi is yet to give Balde any game time in the Champions League. He has sat out both of Barça's European games so far this term.

Alba started against Viktoria Plzen  on matchday one, before summer signing Marcos Alonso got the nod away to Bayern Munich.

Nevertheless, Balde looks to be Barça's main man at left-back. With the club placing their faith in youth, we may see him start next time out in Europe.

What he’s achieved is remarkable. Alonso was expected to come in and take the left-back slot, but Balde has matched the former Chelsea man.

Balde is the discovery of the season. He’s a player for the future and the here and now, joining a growing cast of exciting Barcelona talents.

Barça’s defence was a worry a few weeks back, but now looks in fine shape. They have conceded just once in six league games this season.