Barcelona prodigy’s skills pale in comparison to last season


PORTO, PORTUGAL - OCTOBER 4: João Cancelo (L) high five his teammate Alejandro Balde of Barcelona (R) during the UEFA Champions League Group Stage Group H match between FC Porto and FC Barcelona at Estadio do Dragao on October 4, 2023 in Porto, Portugal.
Photo by Pedro Loureiro/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

FC Barcelona have undoubtedly taken a very significant fall from grace in the ongoing campaign. Even compared to just last season’s significant victories, La Blaugrana are simply not as competitive anymore. While others around them have taken a leap, Barcelona continues to fall behind.

The latest defeat to Real Madrid encapsulates this better than anything. The Blaugranes were tactically outclassed, with Real Madrid showcasing individual superiority and playing with more courage and pride for their own badge. However, while a lot of the blame has gone to the coach, the Barcelona players have been no saints either.

In fact, there are several players in the team who have notably declined this season. There is, of course, the case of Robert Lewandowski for instance. However, the logical reasoning behind that specific problem has been age and loss of physical ability. On the other hand, there seems to be no explanation for the decline of Alejandro Balde.

As highlighted by SPORT, the Barcelona fullback has taken a massive step back. Previously among the world’s most promising and electric fullbacks, he now struggles to find himself in the starting eleven when everyone is fit. As such, SPORT has decided to highlight the La Liga statistics in which he has showcased a noticeable decline.

Both his overall dribbling statistics and passing completion rates have dropped this season. Even more worrying, the passing statistics have dropped across all kinds of ranges like short-range, medium, and even long-range. Moreover, the passes played into the final third have worsened, and also those that he blocks.

Assists and expected goals have also both declined. As an attacking Barcelona fullback, Balde is expected to contribute significantly to the attack from wide play, but he has been quite ineffective this season. He also tends to lose possession more now, complete less tackles, and even attempt less shots.

However, despite all of these negatives, there are a handful of improvements as well. His number of key passes, interceptions, defending against opposing dribblers, and clearances have all improved. Ultimately, however, much more is still expected of the La Masia fullback.

Raafay Humayun
Raafay Humayun
Raafay Humayun is a life-long fan of FC Barcelona and an avid enjoyer of all things Blaugrana. Having fallen in love with the club for the way they defined football for him, he now spends his time watching games, analyzing the happenings in them, and digesting any and everything related to his beloved Catalan club. He also writes as an author for Barca News Network hoping to deliver the latest updates to his fellow ‘culés’.

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