Jordi Alba has gone from being Barça’s starting left-back to emergency backup. Like Pique, his salary is exorbitant and the board of directors wants to get rid of him. Meanwhile, on the national team, he is in excellent form and is one of the best players at the World Cup.
After Gerard Piqué’s hasty departure from Barça, pushed back by board pressure, the next player under the radar is Jordi Alba. The Barça left-back’s contract expires in 2024 and his salary is one of the highest in the squad. The board believes his salary is exorbitant, according to the new pay scale Joan Laporta’s team is trying to install, and that he has been paid well above market levels in recent years just as his performance at the club has declined. The club will try to get him to leave in the summer, but Jordi Alba wants his contract terminated. His best argument is that he has an excellent World Cup. “Jordi Alba is the best defender in the world in the final third of the pitch. Let’s hope we can convince him to play in another World Cup,” coach Luis Enrique described Barcelona’s veteran full-back.
In the first match against Costa Rica, he was one of the most important attacking pieces in Luis Enrique’s plan as he provided Spain with second-line surprise, depth, and a final pass. Although he only had one assist, the reality is that he was involved in the first three goals against Costa Rica in a match that went down in World Cup history. Against Germany he was focused in defence, and in attack, he was the scorer of the cross that Álvaro Morata put into the net. He is an unquestionable starter for Luis Enrique and is at a high level. However, his situation at Barça is unlikely to change no matter how well he plays. Barça already tried to get rid of him on the last day of the transfer window. Those in charge of the sports department contacted Inter Milan and offered the veteran left-back on loan. A loan in which Barça would pay 60% of the salary, but which was important to reduce the wage bill. The deal was aimed at getting rid of Alba and leaving just two left-backs: Marcos Alonso and the young Alejandro Balde. A move that Jordi Alba was unhappy with because he didn’t expect it.
“Everyone acts the way they want to act. I’m a man who likes to fight with everyone. I know that not everyone likes the way I play sometimes. You can always make things better. I don’t have to complain. I’ve never complained if I don’t play. My thought has always been Barcelona. I see myself ready to compete, and my commitment is 100 percent. Then there are the interests of the club,” said Jordi Alba. “I don’t know if the club has fallen out with Alba, but I’ve spoken to him a lot and I don’t take it personally,” Xavi Hernández replied shortly afterwards. The problem is that the situation has not improved since then for Jordi Alba at a club that intends to make a hierarchical revolution and reduce an absolutely exorbitant wage bill. Injuries to Kounde, Christensen and Marcos Alonso have seen Jordi Alba accumulate three starts in a row, but young Alejandro Balde is Xavi’s first-choice starter, and both the youngster and Marcos Alonso have played more minutes than Alba this season. He shone for Spain at the World Cup, but it looks like even that won’t change his fate at Barcelona…
Pressure from the board continued
The club’s vice-president of finance, Eduard Romeu, has already diagnosed the financial state of the club: “We saved Barça, but we are not financially healthy and we need a lot of austerity and rigour. There is still a lot to do. In the 2024/25 season we will be at the level we should be”. Laporta ratified this at the last delegates’ meeting, where he recalled that the captains did not want their salaries cut, leaving them open to criticism.
The management did not miss the opportunity to continue to put pressure on the captains to reduce their salaries and wanted to put an end to salary increases inherited from the Josep Maria Bartomeu era, such as that of Jordi Alba. The document runs until 2024, with a $1m pay rise. Thanks to that signing in 2019, the left-back has moved to the top of the salary hierarchy, after Busquets and Pique. The centre-back has already said goodbye, giving up the rest of the money in his contract, Sergio Busquets’ commitment expires on 30 June, and the only question mark concerns Jordi Alba, who although he doesn’t want to leave we see how he is no longer wanted at the club to which he has dedicated over 10 years of his career…