Two alternative options for injured Barcelona fullback – report

Date:

SEVILLE, SPAIN - JANUARY 21: Alejandro Balde of FC Barcelona looks on during the LaLiga EA Sports match between Real Betis and FC Barcelona at Estadio Benito Villamarin on January 21, 2024 in Seville, Spain.
Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

FC Barcelona find themselves in quite the predicament after their latest defeat in the Copa Del Ray. Despite the cup being their best chance at a title this season, the Catalans crashed out to Athletic Club. A 4-2 scoreline was what led to Barcelona now being left alive in only two competitions.

However, that is not where the dread ends for La Blaugrana either. Beyond just the unfortunate and untimely defeat, Barcelona have also lost some of their key players to injury. Three defenders, to be precise, are now expected to undergo medical examinations to assess their respective discomforts.

One of those defenders is 20-year-old fullback Alejandro Balde. Injured and down on the ground near the 20th minute of the match, Balde had to be taken off as he felt significant pain in his hamstring.

Now, it seems that he will likely be unavailable for Barcelona in the upcoming games. As such, SPORT has highlighted the two primary alternatives that Xavi could use to ensure that his absence does not bring the team down altogether.

The first and more natural option would be to use the returning Joao Cancelo as a left-back. While the Portuguese star is naturally a right-back, he has shown on countless occasions that he can be equally as effective when playing on the left flank.

His versatility, combined with his assortment of vision and passing techniques, make him an invaluable asset for Barcelona. However, the only concern is just how fit he actually is. Even though he was included in the list for the game against Athletic Club, his lack of fitness kept Xavi from using him in the game.

With Barcelona set to face Villarreal next, it is clear that his presence is still not guaranteed. Until that happens, there is also a secondary player Xavi could make use of. That player is none other than subsidiary talent Hector Fort, a player who thoroughly impressed against Athletic Club.

Used by Xavi as the player who ultimately replaced Balde in the recent game, he showcased exceptional versatility. Just like Cancelo, Fort is another natural right-back who was placed as a left-back due to the circumstances. However, surprisingly even, he managed to hold his own in a really impressive way.

Despite still only being just 17, Fort possesses great maturity and versatility. His progressive skills and his defensive qualities are both of proven mettle by this point. Xavi could utilize him as the left-back in the upcoming game if Cancelo is unable to be properly fit by then.

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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