Atlético Madrid

Hope springs eternal for Carles Alena at Barcelona

Though the hosts have fallen off the cliff in terms of their form, not so long ago Abelardo’s side were being talked about as an outside bet for a Champions League place.

All of the pre-match chatter centred around Lionel Messi being on the bench but Ernesto Valverde got his starting XI and substitutions spot on.

He’s had chances to go out on loan before now, and with the introduction of Frenkie de Jong to an already overbooked midfield, there are bound to be further offers for his services this summer.

Having used the example of Sergi Roberto’s patience in recent interviews, Alena is clearly happy to continue working hard on the basis that his chance will come.

There’s no question he was Barcelona’s man of the match on the night, and an expertly taken opener merely put the cherry on top of the cake in terms of his performance.

The importance of the same can’t be overlooked when you consider the likes of Manchester City, PSG et al are all circling and willing to go the extra mile to acquire the best young academy players.

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