Name: Jordi Alba
Club: Valencia CF
Debut: 13/09/09 v Real Valladolid CF (Liga)
Date of birth: 21/09/89
Following the departures of David Villa, David Silva and Carlos Marchena, Valencia CF fans would have been forgiven for fearing the worst as the new season began. But a side built around a promising core of youngsters has quickly found its feet with Jordi Alba among a group taking the step up in their stride as the club take the Liga by storm.
Having had to fight hard to get his chance with Valencia, Alba has seized it with both hands. As a teenager, he was discarded by FC Barcelona after playing in the same youth teams as Bojan Krkić and Sergio Busquets, and began turning out for regional side UE Cornellà. The Hospitalet-born player never lost sight of his long-term goals, however, continuing to work hard as a left-sided midfielder and developing the pace, accurate crossing and fierce shot that would eventually catch the attention of the Valencia scouts.
After moving down the east coast, Alba immediately impressed with the Valencia reserves, helping them seal promotion. International recognition followed when he was called up to Spain's UEFA European Under-19 Championship squad for the 2008 finals in the Czech Republic, yet he still needed to bide his time at club level. A loan spell with Club Gimnàstic de Tarragona in in 2008/09 gave Alba his first taste of regular football as he made 35 appearances in the Spanish second tier, scoring four goals.
Alba's progress has accelerated in the past year. He has featured for Spain's Under-21s and was given his opportunity by Valencia last term. Asked to fill in at left-back, Alba willingly accepted and continues to excel in the position as Valencia climb the Spanish Liga.
Valencia CF 2-0 UD Almería
With his side in the midst of an injury crisis, Jordi Alba came off the bench to replace youth-team player Lillo at half-time against Almería. Alba took his chance, helping Valencia win the game 2-0 and going on to finish the season as first-choice left-back.
"My intention is to continue to grow as a footballer and I'm going to continue working hard at that as I have done throughout my life."
"Wherever they put me on a pitch, whether it's in midfield or in defence, I'll always do the best I can; I only want to play. Although I realise I have a difficult season ahead I will take it more calmly than last year because I know now the coach knows me and I have more confidence."
"Well, he is a player with a big future who has great talent. He has everything in him to become a player of the highest level. But he is still only , so he needs patience and he needs to play more. But he has everything in the world to be a great player in the next years."
Spain striker David Villa on his former Valencia team-mate
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