Jordi Alba looks set to take his place in the Spain squad for the Olympic Games despite Barcelona's protestations to his call-up. The left-back, who scored in Spain's UEFA EURO 2012 final victory against Italy last weekend, completed his move from Valencia to Barça for €14m just days ago but had already indicated his wish to feature at the Games.
Barcelona are concerned, however, that playing in another tournament might leave the 23-year-old tired before the season even begins. "Jordi has been our player for a very short time. It is clear that we haven't signed him for a summer, but for five seasons," Barcelona's sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta told AS.
"However, we are looking for the best solution regarding the Olympic Games. We will speak with the Federation and look at the interests of everyone to choose the best option. Barcelona has to look out for its own interests in the short term, but also in the medium to long term."
Spain's Olympic team coach Luis Milla is relaxed about the issue and is confident Alba will be part of the 18-man squad that begins Spain's campaign against Japan in Glasgow on 26 July. "I am very calm," he said. "The player's stance is the same as ours.
"I spoke with the boy and he wants to come to the Games. We are not going to yield to anyone. We will evaluate the situation but both the Federation and Alba are quite clear in their position at this time."
Senior Spain coach Vicente del Bosque also believes the Olympics would be a positive experience for Alba. "I am in favour of him going," he said. "It will surely be the last opportunity for him to go to a Games. He has been important in winning the EUROs and it would be good for him to participate with the guys of his age in this tournament."
Meanwhile, Barcelona's Thiago Alcantara has withdrawn from the Olympic squad due to injury. The midfielder has not fully recovered from a tibia injury picked up towards the end of last season and has been replaced by Real Sociedad's Asier Illarramendi.