Most were introduced to Barcelona‘s newest starlet Alejandro Balde when he made the cover of Diario Sport this past week, but he’s been a well-known figure within the Catalan club for some time now according to the newspaper.
“At La Masia they’ve had his name written in capital letters for a long time,” wrote Albert Roge. “He’s a player that since childhood has been seen as being destined for the first team.” Still just 17, he hasn’t made it yet, and has indeed only appeared a handful of times for Barcelona B, but all indications point to the idea that the full-back will be making his first team bow sooner rather than later – apparently Ronald Koeman is a big fan.
The Dutch coach is said to want him in the first team to back up Jordi Alba at left-back. Junior Firpo isn’t rated by Koeman, and is expected to leave in the winter transfer window for either Inter Milan or Atalanta. Koeman’s not worried by Balde’s tender years – he’s already shown faith in Pedri and Ansu Fati, 17 and 18 respectively, and wants him working closely with the first team. Until Firpo leaves however, it’s expected Balde will continue playing with Barcelona B to continue his adjustment to senior football.
Balde was born in Barcelona to a father from Guinea-Bissau and a mother from the Dominican Republic, and was talented in athletics as a youngster – in school races, he’d have to start after his classmates in order to make the competition someway fair, even though he’d always win anyway. For Balde, however, his first sport was always football. When he was four, he’d often play for his brother Edy’s team in Placa dels Porxus, with seven year-olds. He went to school at Sant Gabriel, before moving on to Prebenjamin. RCD Espanyol picked him up from there, before his progress accelerated to the degree that Barcelona came in for him and brought him to Camp Nou.
Featured image courtesy of Barca Universal.