The explosive left-back has become the first choice in the position ahead of established and experienced stars like Jordi Alba and Marcos Alonso.
So much so that, as reported by Catalunya Radio, the Barcelona dressing room has been left pleasantly surprised by the level that Balde has shown so far this season. Indeed, it is claimed that not many expected the teenager to perform at the level he has been doing this term.
The 18-year-old has played 11 times across all competitions in 2022/23, registering three assists in the process. And given his performances, it is being reported that Balde could be a surprise inclusion in Spain’s FIFA World Cup squad next month.
The report further sheds light on the reasons behind Balde’s progression, which started in the pre-season, when he displayed great focus and ability to absorb the tactical instructions passed on by manager Xavi Hernandez and his staff.
It is stated that Balde trained humbly and was open to learning despite his innate talent, which has helped him grow. Furthermore, mentally, the youngster is believed to have made some changes while he also worked on improving tactically, especially in the defensive phases and when he does not have the ball.
Xavi, who has had a huge impact on youngsters like Pedri and Gavi, is once again believed to have been key in Balde’s development as the La Masia ace believes in him and understands that he will get better and better if he follows the manager’s instructions.
There are still areas of the game that Balde needs to work on, while he still lacks that bit of maturity, which was seen in El Clasico. Seen as one of the fastest players in the team, the 18-year-old also needs refining with his decision-making when he enters into the final third.
But, the impact that he has made so far this season has left a major impression on the Barcelona dressing room.