?Barcelona midfielder Carles Alena has refused to accept Lionel Messi coming fifth in the votes for the Ballon d’Or in 2018, while also believing the club’s academy system is still ‘bearing fruit’.
Alena, 21, has enjoyed a breakout season for Ernesto Valverde’s side, making 17 appearances in all competitions and scoring once, while his performances have seen him earn a place in Spain’s latest Under-21 squad for the latest round of international fixtures, resulting in his first cap.
The midfielder has also had a better view than most of what’s been yet another glorious season for ?Messi, who is the top scorer in both ?La Liga (29) and the Champions League (eight), as well as topping the Spanish league for assists (12), and Alena believes the Argentinian’s fifth-place finish in the 2018 Ballon d’Or voting, that was won by Luka Modric, was unjust.
Speaking to ?Marca, he said: “
Alena also discussed ?Barcelona’s academy system, La Masia, and quashed any talk that it has faltered in recent seasons, insisting that graduates such as Andreas Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, Xavi and Messi during a similar time is ‘unique’.
He added: “