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The sky is red at Manchester as Barcelona wonder kid Alejandro Balde has named the Old Trafford club as another club he would like to play for during a TikTok session.

The 19-year-old left-back is the latest highly-rated youngster from the Catalan giants’ famed La Masia academy to establish himself as a first-team star. Balde has started 12 of Barca’s 14 La Liga games this term and impressed enough to earn a late call-up to Spain’s World Cup squad after Jose Gaya withdrew with a sprained ankle.

Balde has leapfrogged Jordi Alba in the Barcelona pecking order but is behind his Nou Camp teammate in the national team. The talented teenager has, however, been introduced in both of Spain’s matches at the World Cup from the bench.

In the wake of his rapid rise, Balde is already starting to attract admiring glances from elsewhere – and the youngster appeared to reveal that he has a soft spot for Erik ten Hag’s side when he was asked ‘A club other than Barcelona?’ during a TikTok Q&A session with Mundo Deportivo.

Meanwhile, National Daily gathered from the reports in Spain which claim that the full-back’s agent, Jorge Mendes, has already started talks with Barcelona over a new and improved deal with his current deal running until the summer of 2024 and reportedly includes a mammoth €500million (£431.5m) release clause.

Prior to Spain’s thumping 7-0 win over Costa Rica last week, Balde had not made a single appearance for his country. He however made his international bow as a second-half substitute as a replacement for Alba, who he credited for helping him settle into the squad.

“They [veterans] guide us,” said Balde in an interview with Mu n do Deportivo last week. “For example, Jordi Alba, who plays in my position, usually advises me. On the first day, he already told me that in the national team the full-backs were positioned differently and he already explained it to me. He gives me good advice.”

And he insisted that the competition for a starting berth would not damage their relationship – and that it could only be good news for Spain.

Balde continued: “When there are two in the same position, people see it as if it were a war, but no. In the end, if he’s okay, he’s going to make me better. And if I’m fine, I’ll do better for him. It is competition, but it is healthy and good. It’s not bad at all because he makes me better and that’s good.

“It was a dream debut. For it to be a debut and on top of that in a World Cup. They told me two days ago… It’s a dream for me. I’m happy for the opportunity and above all for the team’s victory.”

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