Barcelona wonderkid Alejandro Balde, 17, promoted to first team by Ronald Koeman is ready to push Alba for starting spot

HE's ready.

Barcelona boss and club legend Ronald Koeman knows a good defender when he sees one.

As an unconventionally attacking centre half, the Dutchman offered as much going forward as he did marshalling his defence.

And that's exactly what he sees in exciting left-back Alejandro Balde, 17, who has the Spanish press purring over his ability.

The promising teenager is as renowned for his marauding runs forward as he is at picking the pockets of forwards that come up against him.

It's because of his outstanding ability, Koeman has promoted Balde to his first team.


One wonderkid's misfortune is another's gain.

This week, Ansu Fati, the potential heir to Lionel Messi's throne, was ruled out of action for four months after suffering a knee injury against Real Betis in a 5-2 win.

Rather than seek answers outside the club and draw a list of potential replacements for the January transfer window, Barcelona promoted from within.

Balde will now get his chance, partly because the Spanish giants are skint after the coronavirus pandemic has left them in financial dire straits.

But mostly because he's THAT good.

Described as "explosive" on Barcelona's website, he is expected to push Jordi Alba for a first team spot.


Balde has been tipped as being good enough to already play for a Barcelona side that's been beleaguered by internal squabbling in the board room and poor form on the pitch, by the media in Spain.

Until 2011 he was on the books of Barça's crosstown rivals Espanyol, where he initially blossomed.

Impressed by what they saw in a game against them, coaches at the Camp Nou lured him to their La Masia academy the age of eight.

His steady progress has seen Balde work his way up the ranks, even drawing interest from Premier League giants Liverpool and Chelsea.

He's also represented Spain up to Under-18 level.


With Barcelona sitting in eighth place in LaLiga and struggling to find any sort of cohesion in what clearly looks like a transition season for the club, Balde may be set for his first team bow soon.

After the international break, the Catalans will square off against Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid, which is always a feisty affair.

Desperate for a win, it could be too big a game to blood Balde in from the start.

However, his fresh legs just before the final whistle might just give the opposition something to think about.

Especially, if he's rampaging down the left-hand side with Barcelona holding a lead in the final moments and playing keep ball.

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