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Unlike Riqui Puig, Alex Collado has the preseason to convince Xavi

BarcelonaÁlex Collado already knows what it’s like to make his debut for Barça’s first team. He did it with Ernesto Valverde, in the penultimate day of the 2018-19 academic year. But he still doesn’t know what it means to be a full-fledged player. After being defenestrated by Ronald Koeman last summer and spending half a year without a card and the rest at Granada, the midfielder will have another chance to fulfill his dream: to make a place for Barça.

The Sabadell native never convinced the Dutch coach, a coach who, in the same way as if you were among his chosen it gave you prominence without looking at the DNI –Pedri, Gavi, Nico, Ilaix …–, it relegated you to ostracism without regard if you couldn’t convince it –Collado himself, Riqui Puig or Aleñá–. The 23-year-old former captain made it clear last summer that he would not continue for another year at the branch, which was about to make the leap to professional football, but failed to seduce Koeman during the pre-season. Now, with Xavi Hernández on the bench, he is starting a new range of opportunities in Barcelona. But, as ARA has learned, his presence in the first team is not guaranteed.

In a tragic end to the market last summer, a bureaucratic mistake thwarted his transfer to Sheffield United of the Championship, the English second division. After spending half a year training but not being able to play because he had no record, he made the leap as a transfer to Granada in the winter market. The Catalan coach Roberto Moreno had been interested in his services for months and when the transfer window opened in January, Barça and the Andalusian team formalized the transfer of Collado until the end of the season. It was a loan with no option to buy, because both the will of Sabadell and that of Xavi Hernández, who had landed on the Barça bench in mid-November, was for the player to return to Barça.

On July 4, the midfielder will be part of the list of players who will start the preseason under the orders of the Egarenc coach. And, despite being a footballer who likes Xavi, Collado also knows that if he wants to make a place in the first team he will have to earn it on his own merits. But, unlike other footballers like Riqui Puig, who, both actively and passively, are clear that Barça will not have the prominence they would like on the pitch, the Sabadell midfielder starts from the base that knows that the Barça coach is he will look you in the eye.

In fact, although last summer the sports management emphasized that “it had matured” and that this had been “reflected in his performance as captain of the branch”, this year from the Barça dressing room they value the “progression “that the midfielder has done for half a year at Granada. “He is a good player. He has taken a step forward in the defensive field. He will play the pre-season with us and we will decide,” they told ARA from Ciutat Esportiva. The direction of the transfer market will also weigh in the final decision.

Protagonism in a grenade with water around his neck

As a player for the Andalusian team, Collado has played in 17 of the 19 games in which he could play. He has started in 13, in four he has come in from the bench and in only two he has not played a single minute. In fact, the first game in which the Sabadell player was left blank was the last one directed by Robert Moreno, his defender in Granada, and which ended with a defeat against Valencia (3-1) which cost him the Catalan coach’s neck. The other game in which he did not play a single minute was in the defeat against Sevilla (4-2), with the interim coach Rubén Torrecilla on the bench. But despite the midfielder coming to the team from the hand of Moreno, it was with Aitor Karanka with whom he had more prominence.

Collado was the starter in the six games led by the Basque coach, while Moreno had only been in four (of the eight in which they matched). In a team with water in its neck because until the last day it was played not to fall in a descent that in the end was consummated, the Sabadell man managed to make a place in the starting eleven and, of the two goals he has scored as a Granada player, one meant all three points in the 1-0 win over Athletic Club. The midfielder values ​​very positively his time in the Andalusian team, but now he wants to start the pre-season under the orders of Xavi Hernández, with whom he trained for a month and a half.

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