Barcelona will return to action on the verge of a new year on Saturday night, as they take on Espanyol in the Barcelona derby at 14:00 CEST.
Motivation might have been a question for some of the team returning from the World Cup, had it not been a local derby that they were walking into. Left-back Jordi Alba has lost his starting spot this season, but then vindicated himself with some strong performances at the World Cup with Spain.
He highlighted how the players who came through at La Masia have an extra motivation against Espanyol.
“A special match. The people from here, who have been at the club for a long time, who have played them since we were very young, live them [the derbies] in a very different way.”
“I’m sure there will be a lot of people at the Camp Nou who will cheer us on as always.”
Sport carried his comments, which were made at one of his football camps, which Alba attended on his day off.
Much of the Barcelona team are closer in age to those being coached at Alba’s camp than they are the veteran himself.
“Ansu, Pedri, Gavi, Ferran, Eric, Balde… they are players with great potential, they are still very young and they are already playing at the first level, and what’s more, they are doing phenomenal.”
“You don’t have to get carried away, but they have a great future ahead of them, spectacular, and I’m sure they’re going to bring a lot of joy to Spanish football, and specifically, to Barca.”
Barcelona’s promising youngsters are being slowly locked into Barcelona for the coming years. Eric Garcia and Ferran Torres signed recently, while Ansu Fati, Gavi and Pedri have all penned new deals in the last year. Alejandro Balde is expected to follow suit in the near future.