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    Spanish press hail Alejandro Balde after Ronald Koeman promotes him to the Barcelona first-team

    ‘The other Ansu’: Spanish press hail Alejandro Balde after Ronald Koeman promotes the explosive young full-back to the Barcelona first-team ahead of a crucial stage of the season

    • Alejandro Balde is making the move from La Masia to Barcelona’s first-team 
    • The Spanish press have backed him to replicate the impact of Ansu Fati
    • The full-back will compete with Jordi Alba for a place in Barcelona’s line-up 

    Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman has been busy reinforcing his ranks in the international break and has promoted promising youngster Alejandro Balde to the senior side. 

    Spanish paper Sport describe Balde as Koeman’s ‘other Ansu Fati’ and say the 17-year-old is already considered good enough to feature in the Barcelona first-team.

    But he won’t be a direct replacement for Fati, who faces four months out with a knee injury sustained in Barcelona’s 5-2 win over Real Betis in their last match.

    Balde is an attacking left-back, described as ‘explosive’ by Barcelona’s website. He will be supporting Jordi Alba rather and follow’s Fati off the Barcelona production line, rather than coming in to replace the teenager directly. 

    He is described by Sport on Thursday as being good enough to already play for the first team and despite his young, he will need to be in the coming months. 

    As a youngster, Balde was initially on the books of Barcelona’s LaLiga rivals Espanyol but the Nou Camp giants managed to sign him to their academy back in 2011.

    Barcelona are eighth in the LaLiga standings with 11 points from seven matches but have played two games less than leaders Real Sociedad, who they trail by nine points.

    And Balde could face a baptism of fire if Koeman throws him straight into the first-team. Barcelona return to action after the current international break with a blockbuster showdown with Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid on November 21.

    Atletico, like Barca, have two games in hand on leaders Sociedad but only trail them by three points and victory over Koeman’s would be a major statement, even at this early stage of the 2020-21 campaign. 



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