Spain call up uncapped Barcelona star after injury drop-out on eve of World Cup 2022

Spain call up uncapped Barcelona star after injury drop-out on eve of World Cup 2022

Barcelona teenager Alejandro Balde has been called up to Spain’s World Cup squad as a late injury replacement.

Luis Enrique has brought in the full-back after Jose Gaya was struck down with an ankle problem just days before facing Costa Rica in their Qatar opener.

Balde, 19, has been capped by the Spanish national team at multiple youth levels but is yet to make his senior debut.

A versatile defender, he has made 16 appearances for Barcelona this season while competing with Jordi Alba and Marcos Alonso for a spot in the Camp Nou team, the former of which is also in the Roja squad.

Elsewhere in the Spain camp, there was an awkward moment when the country’s FA congratulated David De Gea on his international retirement.

Journalist Jose Alvarez told El Chiringuito that the Manchester United goalkeeper received a message from RFEF boss Luis Rubiales graciously accepting his withdrawal from national team commitments.

However, that was news to De Gea who reportedly sent an indignant reply insisting he had not retired.