A Basque in Boise

5.Mikel Balenziaga

Place of Birth: Zumarraga, Basque Country

Current Club: Athletic Club Bilbao

Had this been one year ago, Mikel Balenziaga would not even be on the reserves of this list. But that has all changed since the 26-year-old returned to his boyhood Athletic Club Bilbao last summer.

Balenziaga has been one of the best left-backs in Spain this season, pairing up with Laporte to form a solid wall on the left side of the defence. He excels in balancing when to go forward and when to stay back, and he is known for being a player who doesn’t take unnecessary risks.

The Athletic defender also has decent pace and vision, but his passing is what makes him stand out. He is more than capable of keeping possession and also boasts a keen ability to cross the ball.

Apart from Balenziaga, Nacho Monreal is another prime candidate to start at left-back for the Basque national team if Azpilicueta stays on the right.

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