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Jordi Alba: ‘Spain have high hopes for World Cup’

Jordi Alba: ‘Spain have high hopes for World Cup’

Jordi Alba has said that Spain are entering the World Cup with “high hopes”, as the national side look to challenge for what would be their second trophy in the competition.

The Barcelona defender was not a part of the squad that won the World Cup in 2010, but he has lifted silverware for La Roja, helping them triumph at Euro 2012.

Alba has found it difficult to secure regular starts at club level this season due to the emergence of Alejandro Balde and summer addition of Marcos Alonso.

However, the 33-year-old remains a key player for the national side, and he is expected to be in the starting XI for Wednesday’s tournament opener with Costa Rica.

Alba has said that he is entering the competition “with a lot of enthusiasm”, as he is determined to make the most of what is likely to be his last World Cup.

Jordi Alba in action for Barcelona in December 2021© Reuters

“I am going to take this World Cup with a lot of enthusiasm, because it may be the last one for me. Spain have a young and exciting team and, although the opponents are difficult and the World Cup is a tough tournament, we have high hopes,” Alba told AS.

“I think I have matured as a player and as a person. I understand the game better and now that I’m a veteran I try to help the younger players, as they did to me in the past.”

Alba also paid tribute to Spain boss Luis Enrique, calling him “the best in the world”.

“He is a close, but demanding coach. For me, Luis Enrique is the best in the world. It is a pleasure to have him in the national team. We have improved our game under him and he takes us in the right direction,” he added.

Enrique’s contract with Spain is due to expire after the World Cup, and it is currently unclear whether the 52-year-old will be penning a new deal.

Jordi Alba in action for Barcelona on February 6, 2022© Reuters

Alba was also asked about Barcelona teammate Balde, who earned a late call into the Spain squad for the competition due to Jose Gaya‘s withdrawal through injury.

The 19-year-old has been a regular at club level this season, making 16 appearances in all competitions, and Alba has said that the left-back “has an incredible future”.

“Balde is a great player who hasn’t been in the elite for a long time, but he’s playing a lot of games for Barcelona and is learning very quickly,” he added.

“We have received him as one more, and from the first day, I try to advise him the best, here and at our club. Balde has an incredible future and also a great present. He is a player to be reckoned with.”

As well as Costa Rica, Spain will also take on Germany and Japan in Group E.

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