La Masia product, Carles Alena who was loaned to Real Betis back in December 2019, is expected to return to Barcelona for the next season. A player cherished by culers, with a dream of succeeding in the path set by Iniesta, and Xavi, Alena is set to make his mark under Setien for the coming season.
EVERY RUMOUR REGARDING ALENA
After being loaned to Betis, there were speculations about the top Premier League team wanting Alena. Back in June 2020, Sport reported that a top Premier League club had offered him about 25m with salary raise for Alena. But, Alena was keen to succeed at Barca.
He was also linked with a possible swap to Bayer Leverkusen for Kai Havertz.
He also had said in the past that he wouldn’t rule out a permanent agreement with Real Betis. Back in May, he told his club’s official radio station, “It would be crazy to close the door on Betis.”
He also said about not ruling out a move to Madrid someday.
“Football has many turns,” he told Cadena SER when asked if he would ever play for Los Blancos.
“I’ve been a Barca fan all my life. It would be tough, but they’ve always taught me ‘never say never’. But, for me, they are a rival team.”
But, the latest report by Mundo Deportivo suggests he will be available to Barcelona for next season. He will participate in the pre-season fixture to show his quality.
His girlfriend, Ingrid Gaixas, has dropped hints about leaving Betis. She posted a farewell message to Seville, where they stayed for the last six months.
“See you soon, Seville. I take the best of each corner that I did not know, of people who I never thought that would come across. I can say forever that my son is a Sevillan,” the caption reads.
ALENA AT BARCELONA
Born in Mataró, Barcelona, Catalonia, Alena joined FC Barcelona’s youth system, La Masia, in 2005 aged 7. He made his debut for barca on 29 August 2015, coming on as a late sub in the Segunda División B home game against CF Pobla de Mafumet.
He scored his first senior goal in a Barcelona B 2–4 away loss to CD Eldense.
He made his first-team debut on 30 Novemberin the same year, as the starter and scoring the equalizer in the draw against Hércules CF for the same scoreline, in the same competition.
Alena made his La Liga debut on 2 April 2017, coming on as a second-half substitute in a 4–1 away routing of Granada CF.
On 28 June, he signed a three-year deal with Barcelona, including a release clause of €75 million. In July 2018, he was nominated for the Golden Boy award.
On 4 December 2018, Alena was promoted to the first team, two days after scoring his first league goal for Barcelona against Villarreal CF.
BITTER MOMENT AT BARCELONA
Alena once had a bitter moment in Barcelona when he had to give up his shirt no 21 to De jong after the Dutchman arrived at Barcelona.
De Jong was offered to wear the no.14 jersey famously worn by the one and only Johan Cruyff at both Ajax and the Blaugrana. But, he wished to carve his legacy and wants to wear #21 – a number he has worn on the pitch for a club and country since his grandad passed away on his 21st birthday.
While Alena had no problem giving out his Jersey number to De Jong, he was mad because the club didn’t give him heads up for it.
“I knew that Frenkie wanted the 21 and it was something between him and me,” Alena said, as per SPORT.
“I would have liked a message from the board because they promised him the shirt without warning me. He was humble, he asked me for it and I gave it to him because it was for a sentimental reason.”
“They promised him it without telling me anything. Frenkie is a good guy and humble. I don’t feel good because I’ve always behaved well with the club, we have good communication. They just needed to drop me a message.”, he said.
STRUGGLE UNDER VALVERDE
Alena had a hard time fighting for playing time under Valverde. On his decision to join Betis back then, he talked about how he was not given his chances under Valverde.
He had revealed that he had the option to move to Betis in August, but Ernesto Valverde had asked him to stay as he promised the youngster more playing time. The coach failed to keep true to his word.
“In the summer it was different, it was in the last days, and it was too fast,” Alena said on Betis’s interest in him back in August,” The World News quotes him saying.
“I intended to leave because I saw that at Barcelona it was complicated [to get playing time]. Valverde told me to stay, he said he trusted me and thought I could play.”
“However, there were many matches when I wasn’t even called up, and then in October-November I already had the idea to leave. Yes, it is true that in the last month I played a little more, but the decision was already taken.“, he said.
For the Barcelona B team, Alena had 18 goals in 89 appearances. He had only 39 appearances for the main team netting three goals.
QUALITY OF ALENA
One thing that is common among La Masia graduates is, the way they see the quality pass and understand them and how they execute them.
We have seen Iniesta, Xavi, and Messi doing the extraordinary things with the ball. And in a few games, we have witnessed Puig showing immense quality despite being so young. We have also seen Roberto flaunting typical Barca link-up and gameplay with Messi is past few games.
Alena has a similar ability; he knows those passes; he has the confidence to make them and understand them. He is always on the move making forward passes. He is also good defensively with tracking ball ability and at times, isn’t hesitant to make tackles too.
What makes Barcelona bet on Alena is, the way he understands the key man, Messi, Busquets, Roberto who are decisive in creating chances from typical Barcelona game.
With the departure of Arthur and entry of Pjanic, there will be an addition of experience to the midfield. They already have Messi who is an excellent midfielder at times, creating chances, making those forward pass for the team. Busquets and De jong are both excellent at the defensive midfield position.
Provided that Rakitic or Vidal are sold in the transfer window, Barcelona will have a strong midfield balanced by young sensation and experienced magicians. We witnessed what midfield magicians from Barcelona can do under Xavi, Iniesta legacy.
Under Setien or Xavi as a coach and with these changes in the midfield, Culers believe the day is near when Barcelona will rule the world again.