The ongoing international break isn’t very action-filled for Barcelona faithful, with the likes of Pedri, Ronald Araújo, and Frenkie de Jong all recovering from different injuries. Andreas Christensen’s time with Denmark was also cut short due to an injury against Finland.
However, the few players that are still involved have impressed in the first round of March fixtures. Jules Kounde kept his former teammate Memphis Depay quiet in France’s 4-0 triumph on Friday. And tonight it was Alejandro Balde’s turn to dominate the flank.
The Barcelona full-back played the full 90 minutes in Spain’s 3-0 win over Norway. Apart from helping his side keep a clean sheet by making eight ball recoveries and winning multiple duels, Balde was also an influential outlet going forward. He set up Dani Olmo for the hosts’ opening goal in the 13th minute. A goal made in La Masia!
With his first assist for Spain, Balde became only the third player under the age of 20 to assist a goal for the country in a competitive match since at least September 2006 (via Opta).
Barcelona fans were quick to wax lyrical about Balde’s performance.
One Twitter user wrote: “We spent years chasing Gaya to replace Jordi Alba only for Balde to come from the academy and bench them in club and country.”
A second added: “Just need Balde to build up more muscles like Davies and he’ll be unstoppable.”
“Spain’s LB position is set for years! Alejandro Balde is the future!” a third tweeted.
A fourth made a bold prediction: “Balde winning the next golden boy award….it is written.”
The 19-year-old has been equally impressive for his club lately, assisting Franck Kessié’s late winner against Real Madrid.
Barcelona midfielder Gavi also featured in the game but didn’t appear at home on the left wing in Luis de la Fuente’s setup. He was subbed off before the hour mark.