Jordi Alba is placed in the showcase with a great match against Sevilla | Sports| The USA Print

Jordi Alba celebrates his goal against Sevilla at the Camp Nou.

Jordi Alba celebrates his goal against Sevilla at the Camp Nou.
Jordi Alba celebrates his goal against Sevilla at the Camp Nou.Josep Lago (AFP)

Xavi Hernández is clear that his square in the midfield is not touched. For this reason, even when Barcelona does not have the ball, their boys are placed with four defenders, the team attacks with a 3-4-3. On the right, there is no doubt: the coach uses a striker. Instead, on the left he bets on a defense. Normally it is the young Alejandro Balde (19 years old), but against Sevilla it was the turn of a veteran who waits, sometimes more impatiently, usually without despair, like Jordi Alba (34). “It was a game to give the last pass. It costs us more, we don’t have so many. Alba is one of the best giving the last pass on the outside. Also, he has a moment perfect for the Balde is more about surprising, dividing, transitions and generating superiority in driving ”, Xavi commented on his commitment to Alba.



Ter Stegen, A. Christensen, Koundé, Ronald Araújo (Marcos Alonso, min. 80), Alba (Alex Balde, min. 83), Frenkie De Jong, Busquets (Kessié Franck, min. 8), Pedri, Lewandowski, Gavi ( Ansu Fati, min. 79) and Raphinha (Ferrán Torres, min. 83)



Bono, Rekik, Marcos Acuña (Lucas Ocampos, min. 65), Montiel, Loic Bade, Gudelj, Óliver Torres (Bryan Gil Salvatierra, min. 45), Joan Jordán, Pape Alassane Gueye (Fernando, min. 83), Rakitic and En-Nesyri (Lamela, min. 45)

goals 1-0 min. 58: Dawn. 2-0 min. 70: Gavi. 3-0 min. 78: Raphine.

Referee Jose Maria Sanchez Martinez

And the Hospitalet side brought out its hierarchy. In tension with the sports management, Alba took advantage of his moment against Jorge Sampaoli’s team. Goal and assist for the winger, who puts pressure on Xavi. The coach, a club man, seeks, when he finds the opportunity, to protect Jordi Alba. “I am especially happy for the players who don’t play regularly. They are all plugged in. We are a family”, recorded the Barcelona coach.

Xavi does not point to his players. And, despite the fact that during his first games on the bench the odd footballer complained about how low-key he was exposed in the press conferences, the Terrassa coach is used to pampering his boys at each appearance. With Jordi Alba he is usually affectionate. Although he has praised few as much as Dembélé — “he could be the best in the world in his position,” he said — even though with Sergio Busquets he went a step further. “He is the best defensive midfielder in the history of Spain,” he stressed. Injuries, however, have punished his two right eyes in the locker room in the last week.

In the duel against Girona, on the previous day in Montilivi, Dembélé suffered a muscle injury that, according to the French’s entourage, will leave him out for five weeks. And against Sevilla, the Barça captain appeared on the pitch for four minutes. After a tackle from En-Nesyri, the Badia pivot went to the dressing room, with a sore left ankle. “He has a sprain, we’ll see what degree it is,” said Xavi. This Monday they will do more tests. But from the player’s environment, as reported by Cadena SER, they speak of two or three weeks off. That is to say, like Dembélé, Busquets would miss the duel against Manchester United, in the round of 32 of the Europa League.

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Although the coaching staff insist that the priority is the League, with Madrid eight points behind, they will aspire to also prioritize the European competition. “I don’t know if we are the most reliable team in the League, I know that we are in great form, but we cannot relax, you can go to Villarreal, lose and the doubts return… I am happy today but already thinking about what comes”, said Xavi. The injuries, then, create a situation that leaves the Barça squad more resentful —in the last window they lost to Memphis, Bellerín and Piqué— after the injuries to Dembélé and Busquets, on the eve of one of the most important duels of the season against United (the first leg is on February 16 at the Camp Nou; the second leg is on February 23 at Old Trafford). A headache for Xavi, also for Busquets, just when he was considering renewing his contract with Barça (it expires this June). “I think that between him and Xavi they will make that decision when they consider it and we will support it. If he stays, fantastic”, said Mateu Alemany, in the preview of the game. The Barça football director is not a trivial comment. At the last meeting he had pointed out that there were “non-market salaries”, referring to the salaries of Piqué, Busquets and Alba. Piqué is no longer here, Busquets meditates on his future and Alba does not want to hear anything about leaving the Camp Nou (their link is until 2024).

In the last summer market, Barça tried to open the exit door for the side. It was not successful. Then, Jordi Alba saw how the youth player Alejandro Balde put him ahead in the starting eleven. Alba, in any case, did not request. This is confirmed by the sources of the coaching staff. “He pulls the car, when he plays he pays”, highlighted Xavi. And the side, while he waited for his opportunity. He took advantage of it against Sevilla. “It’s no coincidence”, comments a Barcelona employee via WhatsApp during the duel against Sevilla. The same sources assure that the defense, also a winger, this season has signed his best records of muscle fat and physical detection in the last seven years. “I am not one to send messages. When I play I try to take advantage of the minutes and when I don’t I dedicate myself to helping the youngsters”, concluded Jordi Alba. The side catharsis against Sevilla. And, above all, he puts himself in the Camp Nou showcase.

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