Xavi Hernandez made a decision to bench Barcelona veteran due to the board concerns.
Many people were surprised by Jordi Alba’s decreased playing time in the upcoming season, given that manager Xavi Hernandez had confidence in him the entire previous campaign.
Despite youngster Alejandro Balde having a strong preseason, the 33-year-old also began the opening game of the new campaign against Rayo Vallecano. While the choice startled some club members, it demonstrated Xavi’s confidence in Alba.
The situation has radically changed since the first game, with the seasoned full-back being replaced by Balde in the starting XI for the three games that followed.
In fact, Xavi started the La Masia graduate against Real Valladolid at home in between those two matches, choosing the youngster over the club captain on difficult away journeys against Real Sociedad and Sevilla.
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Alba was an unused substitute in the match against Valladolid, although he played 18 minutes against Sociedad and 27 minutes against Sevilla.
And Ricard Torquemada on LaTdT claims that Xavi’s choice to bench Alba was made entirely for sporting reasons.
The Barcelona manager is said to have been left unimpressed by the Spanish international’s performance against Rayo Vallecano on the opening day of the season, with his lack of tracking back defensively cited as a major concern.
It is said that Xavi did not speak to Alba over the matter but has decided to use Balde ahead of him ever since.
Now with Marcos Alonso joining the club, Alba could fall further down the pecking order. Torquemada claims that Xavi likes the ex-Chelsea ace due to his power, physicality and aerial ability. It could potentially see him overtake Alba in the order of preference at Spotify Camp Nou.
With Alba’s place no longer a guarantee, he was linked with a shock deadline day exit to Inter Milan. However, he turned down the move and stayed at Barcelona to fight for his place. Whether he can win the manager’s trust again remains to be seen.