Jordi Alba has done it. He's returned to the Spanish national team and had the backing of the entire country. Luis Enrique called him for the first time since taking the job and gave the full back the news. The player, in return, couldn't hide his delight at earning his place in the squad again.
Firstly, because he knows that being in the squad is a result of the work and performances he's put in for Barcelona. He's also well liked amongst the group. Ever since his debut back in 2011 he's been a key figure amongst the team's success. Yet he's overcome a personal challenge of dealing with the fact Luis Enrique attempted to phase him out of the national side.
However it's true that Alba was always confident he'd force his way back into the squad list. This wasn't confirmed until a few hours before the list was officially announced though. At the same time, Barcelona were training and the smile on Alba's face was noticeable. He was congratulated by his teammates who knew how much he'd fought to get back into the coach's plans. Messi, who holds a close friendship with Alba, was one of the first to praise Alba's return. Pique was another who appealed for his teammate to be given another chance. Alba came back to the dressing room to find messages from fellow professionals as well as close friends and family members, all expressing their delight at the news.
But above everything else, that return is down to the effort and hard work of the footballer himself. A few years ago he was considered an essential member of Spain's team, it wasn't easy to accept that maybe his time was over. But Alba responded in a mature way, backed by his family and his close friends to remain focused. His other half, Romarey Venture, was also important. And as is the case with every parent when they have a son, and he enjoys his time with young Piero so much, you begin to see everything in a different light.
There was no drama from Alba, only confidence that he would be able to turn the situation around. Never, and anyone close to him will say the same, has he had a problem with Luis Enrique. And that remained the case even when he wasn't picked for the national team. He didn't ask for Luis Enrique to apologise, nor did he have to apologise to the new coach either. That barrier to the Spain squad was broken down due to his fantastic performances in a Barcelona shirt. Alba has turned the situation around and what it's proven is that he's the best left back without question.