Jordi Alba's exit means a new role at Barcelona for Marcos Alonso

Jordi Alba's exit means a new role at Barcelona for Marcos Alonso

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The defender will return to the left-back position on a more regular basis next year

There are many more doubts than certainties surrounding the planning for FC Barcelona's squad for the 2023/24 season: the Barça management still have to make many decisions in order to put together a more competitive team, especially in Europe, than the current one.

Coach Xavi Hernández, however, gave the first clues in the press conference prior to the game against Mallorca: he announced that there will be no signings at left-back despite the departure of Jordi Alba, meaning that Alejandro Balde and Marcos Alonso will be the two players who will occupy this position.

The departure of Alba, together with the more than likely arrival of Iñigo Martínez to reinforce the left centre-back position, will lead to a change in the role of Marcos Alonso (32 years old).

In his first season at Barça, the Madrid-born player has played more than three times as many games at centre-back (28) as at full-back (8, three of them coming off the bench).

Even if Balde retains his unchallenged status on the left side of the defence, Barcelona will need a substitute who can offer guarantees in case of injury or suspension.

The former Chelsea player, in fact, will start his new role next weekend in Vigo. At Balaídos, he will play his fourth game of 2023 at left-back: the injury to Balde, which will keep him out for six to seven weeks, and the absence of Alba after his farewell at Camp Nou will leave Xavi with no other option.

The coach explained that Alba will not travel to Japan for the visit to Vissel Kobe, either, so everything points to Alonso repeating on the left flank in the friendly with which the Culés will close the season.

Needs resolving

The defender's participation figures in his first year at Barcelona are 1,859 minutes across 36 games. If his new role is similar to that of Alba, who has played 1,919 minutes in 30 games this season, he will play fewer games but will start more.

Every season is different, however, and uncontrollable circumstances such as injuries -- Balde, for example, will have to start the pre-season a little later than his teammates due to the partial rupture of the external lateral ligament of his right ankle he suffered against Mallorca -- will have a direct influence on Alonso's contribution.

Nor can it be ruled out, finally, that one of Barça's centre-backs could leave in the summer transfer window and the Madrid-born player could be, in addition to the second left-back, a wildcard in the centre of defence.

Ronald Araujo and Andreas Christensen are (or seem) untouchable, but we will see what happens with Jules Koundé (the Frenchman has assured that he wants to stay, but he has a market and could receive an interesting offer that could change his plans and those of the club) and Eric Garcia, who has played a residual role in his second year after his return home.

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