Jordi Alba to leave Barcelona after 11 year-spell

Clubs

Barcelona defender Jordi Alba will leave the Catalan club at the end of the existing season as a free agent, it was announced on Wednesday.

Alba, 34, has a contract with Barca until 2024 but an agreement has been reached for him to depart this summer after 11 years in the first team.

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A club statement on Wednesday read: “Barcelona and Jordi Alba have reached an agreement to terminate the player’s contract with the club which was due to run until the end of the 2023-24 season.

“Barcelona would like to publicly express gratitude to Alba for his professionalism, commitment and dedication, and his ever-positive and friendly relationship with all members of the Barca family. We wish him every fortune in the future. Barca will always be a home for you, Jordi.”

Sunday’s fixture against Mallorca at Spotify Camp Nou will therefore be his final home match for the Blaugrana and a chance to say goodbye to the supporters.

Barca, who have already clinched the LaLiga title, then close the season away at Celta Vigo the following weekend, which will now be Alba’s last outing for the club.

Club captain Sergio Busquets will also bid farewell to Barca fans on Sunday after announcing earlier this month that he will not renew his contract, which expires in June.

Alba has not yet confirmed what his next move will be but along with Busquets, he has previously been linked with a move to Saudi Arabia.

“Thanks to my parents and my brother for all they have taught me; to my friends for sharing the journey with me; and to all teammates, staff, coaches, presidents and employees I have coincided with during 18 years in total with this club,” Alba said in a video on his social media account.

“Thanks also to my children for the strength they give me every day and to my wife for all she does, without them none of this is possible.

“My biggest dream was always to play for Barcelona and my memory is full of lifetime of moments which I will remember with affection. Developing in the academy was one of most special moments of my life. After seven years, I had to leave, only to return a time later for the moment I had dreamed off, playing for the first team and coming home with a presentation at Camp Nou. It was a unique moment.

“Eleven seasons later, I am proud and satisfied of everything we have achieved together. It has not all been good, there have also been complicated moments, but we have always came through them united.

“I will miss running down the wing at Camp Nou feeling the support and affection of the fans. Who would have told that nine-year-old entering Barca’s academy they would achieve so much with the club of their life? I feel very fortunate.

“After all that, though, after thinking about it carefully, this is the right moment to step aside. So, I would like to announce this is my last season as a Barca player. It’s not been an easy decision, but I leave happy and with peace of mind because I believe that it is the best thing to do.”

Barca also negotiated a deal with Italian side Inter Milan last summer, although Alba’s reluctance to leave saw those talks break down.

However, after losing his place in the side to Alejandro Balde this season at left-back, Alba has decided now is the time to seek a new challenge away from his boyhood club.

Alba first joined Barca’s academy in 1998 but left in 2005, spending time with Cornella and Valencia before returning to Camp Nou in 2012 in a transfer worth €14 million.

He has since made over 450 appearances for the club, winning six LaLiga titles, five Copas del Rey and one Champions League during that time.

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