Barcelona defender Jodi Alba has been sparingly used by manager Xavi Hernandez this season despite being one of the best in his role in this era.

Alba was relied on by Xavi last season and at the turn of this season, the manager has decided to drop the former Valencia star to the bench having started against Rayo Vallecano.

Xavi has turned his attention to youngster Alejandro Balde, the Barcelona academy graduate who impressed during the pre-season and the decision to leave Alba out in favour of the youngster has left came as a surprise to many.

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Balde was given the nod against Real Sociedad and Sevilla, while the teenager also started against Real Valladolid at home in between those two clashes.

Alba played 18 minutes against Sociedad and 27 minutes versus Sevilla while remaining an unused substitute in the clash against Valladolid.

The report according to Ricard Torquemada on LaTdT, the reason behind Xavi’s decision to bench Alba is completely based on sporting matters.

Xavi was not impressed with the performance of Alba during their La Liga opener against Rayo Vallecano, the 33-year-old defender was unable to track back effectively which was cited as the major reason.

Xavi did not communicate with Alba about the recent development but he has decided to call on the La Masia graduate with Marcos Alonso joining from Chelsea Alba will find it difficult to work back to the starting lineup at the club.

Torquemada claims that Xavi likes the ex-Chelsea ace due to his power, physicality and aerial ability. It could potentially see him overtake Alba in the order of preference at Spotify Camp Nou.

Alba was linked with a last-minute move to Inter Milan but the Spain international declined the move to fight for a spot at the Camp Nou.

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