Players come and go, but only few of them earn the attachment and affection of the fans. Carles Aleña, who recently joined Getafe on a permanent deal, is among those. An academy graduate with immense talent, his story is genuinely sad.
Luis Enrique was the first coach to give Carles an opportunity, back when he was still very young. In a torrid time for Barça B, Aleña stood out among the rest. A magnificent interior, he was always praised for his vision, passing and character. Everything indicated that he was the next big thing from La Masia.
Even Ernesto Valverde, constantly criticised for his pragmatism and lack of faith in youth, begun using him on a consistent basis in 2018/19, which looked like his breakthrough campaign. But from that point, things would go south for Aleña. With the arrival of Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong, Carles lost his place in the team, and after a dull 45 minutes in the opening game of the 19/20 season, he found himself on the deep end of the bench.
From then on, a year and a half of uncertainty and disappointment. A 6-month loan at Betis seemed to hand Carles back his lost confidence, and with the arrival of Ronald Koeman, you did get the feeling that luck would finally be on his side. But despite impressing in preseason and against Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League, the coach never trusted him.
In January, Carles Aleña begun yet another journey on loan, this time at Getafe. That proved very fruitful, as the 23-year-old became one of los azulones’ best players. So for a measly fee of less than 5 million, Barça made the move permanent. Carles Aleña’s case is one of ‘what could have been’, because his career shouldn’t have turned out that way. In any case, I wish Carles the best of luck on his next endeavors.