Barcelona began their 2022/23 La Liga season with a goalless draw against Rayo Vallecano this past Saturday at Spotify Camp Nou.
Barça, who went into the game with a lot of expectations after successfully registering all but one of their new players, failed to deliver and only took a single point.
There were plenty of players who performed brilliantly – Ronald Araujo looked out of place at right-back, Gavi wasn’t at his best in midfield and the front three of Robert Lewandowski, Ousmane Dembele and Raphinha were underrated.
Another no-show on the night was left-back Jordi Alba. The 33-year-old veteran has been one of Barca’s most reliable players over the years and was selected to open the season ahead of youngster Alejandro Baldo.
The decision, as reported by Gerard Romero, left several club officials confused and surprised as the teenager had shone brightly in pre-season. In fact, the 18-year-old has been one of Barcelona’s most impressive players in pre-season friendlies.
However, Xavi decided to continue with Alba’s experience despite Baldo’s youthful exuberance at the start of the season. But as it turned out, the veteran Spaniard failed to deliver on the night for the Blaugrana.
Despite an underwhelming start to the new season, Alba remains the club’s undisputed first-choice left-back.
And as for Baldeo, the La Masia graduate looks set to leave the Catalans on loan as Marcos Alonso is expected to arrive at the club, which would push him further down the pecking order under Xavi.
The teenager has shown great potential and a move on loan could benefit him as he would gain valuable experience playing regularly elsewhere rather than warming the Barcelona bench.