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Barcelona to sign Spain left back Jordi Alba

Associated Press Modified: June 28, 2012 at 9:47 am •  Published: June 28, 2012

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Barcelona plans to reinforce its defensive options by signing Spain left back Jordi Alba from Valencia.

The Catalan club said in a statement that the former Barcelona youth player will sign a five-year contract after passing a medical exam on Thursday.

Barcelona will pay its Spanish league rival €14 million ($17.4 million) for Alba.

Alba is currently playing in the European Championship, his first major international tournament. Spain defeated Portugal in the semifinals on Wednesday and will defend its title in the final on Sunday.

The 23-year-old Alba, who can also play as a winger, has been one of revelations of Euro 2012 after standing out because of his speed. His sprint down the left flank and well-placed cross for Xabi Alonso's header gave Spain its opening goal in the 2-0 win over France in the quarterfinals.

"We are happy with (Alba)," Spain coach Vicente del Bosque said. "We have found a specialist that has many years in front of him. Yesterday (against Portugal), he knew how to handle the circumstances and did everything a fullback must do."

Alba is a product of Barcelona's "La Masia" football academy, like many of his new teammates, including Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez. He is the latest former youth player the club has brought back following Cesc Fabregas, who returned from Arsenal last year.

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