Barcelona's Jordi Alba denies clash with Spain coach Luis Enrique
Barcelona left-back Jordi Alba denied there is any friction between him and Spain coach Luis Enrique.
Alba was omitted by his former Barca coach in the previous two Spain squads before being recalled this week for Thursday's UEFA Nations League game at Croatia and the international friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina three days later.
"I've never had a problem with Luis Enrique and his staff," Alba said in Tuesday's news conference. "On the contrary, he [Luis Enrique] helped me a lot at Barca. I never said a bad word about Luis Enrique. I don't regret anything. I've always expressed my will to play but I don't have to apologise to anyone and neither does the coach."
A regular under Luis Enrique's predecessor Julen Lopetegui and a starter at the World Cup in Russia, Alba was confident he would return to the national team.
"I always said that it was down to the coach as to when he would call me up," he said. "The coach has many players to choose from and in the last two call ups he opted to select other players ahead of me. I've respected his opinion.
"My intention was to return. I've had a good start to the season and I feel comfortable. I'm grateful to be back.
"It's always nice to be in the Spain squad but this time is even more special. I've played 66 times for Spain but this feels like my first call up."
The recall came shortly after remarks by Alba's Barca teammate, defender Gerard Pique, who asked Luis Enrique to rectify his mistake and include the player.
Spain captain and Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos also publicly spoke in favour of Alba's return, stating the 29-year-old was one of the best full-backs in the world.
"I feel grateful for all the support I have received from my colleagues, from the fans, from the media," Alba said. "Ramos is a good friend of mine despite playing for our arch-rivals. We get on very well and it's always great to have his support. Throughout these months, I've kept calm and I've matured a lot. I'm here to help. I'm eager to do things well."
Alba believes Spain can do well under Luis Enrique.
La Roja won their opening two UEFA Nations League Group 4 games, scoring eight goals and conceding one, before losing 3-2 at home to England on Oct. 15.
"He is a great coach," Alba said. "He is a modern coach, who is having a great career so far and he has won many titles. I think he is going to bring a lot of joy to the national team."