When Jordi Alba finally signed on the dotted line after months of negotiation, Futbol Club Barcelona had agreed to pay Valencia a hefty sum of 14 million euros. Although some people wondered whether the decision would be just money down the drain, some people believed that Alba’s comeback to the Barcelona squad would help boost the team. The 23-year-old Catalan giant was certainly enthusiastic about winning titles with Barça.
Alba’s signing to FC Barcelona is a homecoming in many ways. He was brought up at FC Barcelona’s youth academy and therefore familiar with the Barça philosophy of how football is played. However, with so few positions available in the squad, he was released in 2005 and continued at UE Cornella for two years before being signed to Valencia for six thousand euros; he was loaned to Gimnastic de Tarragona in 2008-2009, before returning to Valencia, where he made his first team debut in September 2009.
Although Jordi Alba made over one hundred appearances for Valencia, he enjoyed a fairly low profile before Euro 2012. However, his generous efforts coupled with his fervent defending and swift runs propelled the Catalan into the spotlight, and made fans see the potential and passion of Alba as he became one of the most influential players in the tournament.
The overwhelming domination of football in Spain by Barcelona and Real Madrid means that many of the players selected for the national squad tend to be from those two clubs. Anyone who makes it into the squad from any other Spanish club has to be a really outstanding player, more proof that Alba will make it at Barcelona. And Alba replaced a good player, Joan Capdevila, and created a name for himself and his potential to succeed in one of the most successful teams anywhere in the world in the 21st century.
During the Euro 2012 championship, the brilliant performance by Jordi Alba was noticed by people across the world, and many elite clubs in Europe suddenly sat up and noticed. Thankfully, Barcelona’s representatives had already been negotiating with Valencia for several months before that and his Euro performance must surely have helped inflate the 14 million euro transfer fee.
Jordi Alba shares a good bond with Andres Iniesta, who together with Xavi Hernandez and Lionel Messi, became the engine that made Barcelona work during Pep Guardiola’s era. Those who followed the Euro 2012 championship should be aware of how well Alba and Iniesta gelled, offering smart interchanges, quick passing and constant plays that were a treat to watch.