You only need to see a pass & tackle from Alejandro Balde to know he’s ace

Aged just 17, Alejandro Balde has been linked with Liverpool and Chelsea. We’ve established an expert on opinion on Balde after watching all of two minutes and 19 seconds of the hot prospect in action for Barcelona and already know everything we need to know about him: namely, he looks an awful lot of fun.

Reports coming out of Spain are labelling the left-back the ‘new Ansu Fati’, demonstrating both football’s relentless search for a shiny new toy and how the position of the full-back is now primarily an attacking outlet rather than a role for a defensive stalwart these days.

Born and raised in the Catalan capital, Balde excelled in athletics at school and was told to give his class-mates a head start in races due to his lightning speed, only to end up winning anyway. That’s the kind of petty-level shithousery we live for.

Judging by footage of his pre-season appearance against Badalona in October 2020, Balde is a footballer with many talents in his armoury.

An eye for a defence-splitting pass from full-back is one useful asset. Progressing unimpeded down the left-flank, Balde produced a curved through-ball with the outside of his right foot that dissected the Badalona defence with the ease of a veteran science teacher slicing open a comatose frog.

The chance was squandered but, frankly, who cares?

Of course, even the modern full-back needs to demonstrate some defensive competence – it’s hardly as if Gary Neville has been replaced by Lionel Messi as the full-back du jour.

Happily, Balde seems perfectly capable of this too. Going into a 50-50 with admirable enthusiasm, the youngster happily got stuck in and won the challenge with the relish of recently released hostage tackling their first meal of freedom. His opponent, less so.

All in all, Balde seems to have all the components for the modern full-back. Although judging by this training ground clip, he may need to work on his spatial awareness.

And if Balde doesn’t end up fulfilling his potential, at least he’ll prove good value in terms of training ground entertainment.

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