hugely-talented squad replete with European and world champions,
Jordi Alba is probably the only relative newcomer likely to
start against Italy in Sunday's Euro 2012 Group C opener in
The zippy 23-year-old debuted against Scotland in Alicante
in October and has since made the left-back position vacated by
Joan Capdevila his own, impressing team-mates such as centre-back Gerard Pique with his exploits in both defence and attack.
Born in the same Catalan town as Spain reserve goalkeeper
Victor Valdes, he started out in Barcelona's youth ranks before
his current club Valencia snapped him up at the age of 17 for a
bargain 6,000 euros.
Roving down the wing, he uses his explosive pace to surge
past his markers and deliver inviting crosses and will be a
major threat to any opposition as Spain they bid to retain their
"I really think he is a superb player," Pique told a news
conference at Spain's training base in Gniewino on Friday.
"He has surprised me because I saw him playing many times in
La Liga and now with the national team but here in training he
is really flying," added the Barca defender.
"He is very small but he is super quick and agile, he knows
how to defend and attack and he is a player who deserves to be
here for sure."
Alba's progress has inevitably attracted the attention of
Spain's heavyweight clubs and Pique said he was more than
capable of making the step up from Valencia to a team like
Barca, with whom he has been linked in Spanish media.
The Catalans are looking for a left-back to replace Eric
Abidal following the France international's liver transplant
earlier this season.
"I certainly see him playing at a big club," Pique said.
"Valencia is also an important club but maybe he is capable
of more and let's see what happens.
"We hope he is focused on the national team and the European
Championship and for sure he will be and later he needs to take
a relaxed decision about his future."
Bayern fans snap up 45,000 tickets to watch Champions League final live at Allianz Arena
When Sir Alex wakes up on Monday morning without team to manage, he will not be putting his feet up
Paris Saint-Germain midfielder announces he will be retiring at the end of the current season
Record goal-scorer signs a one-year contract extension with Europa League winners Chelsea
Ten years on, the legends speak to FFT
Your questions answered by an A to Z of legends
He's here, he's there, he's...
The cost of Premier League away travel
Nike CR7 IX for you
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010