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Alex Grimaldo has been bringing his 'A' game to Bayer Leverkusen since moving from Benfica. - © IMAGO/kolbert-press
Alex Grimaldo has been bringing his 'A' game to Bayer Leverkusen since moving from Benfica. - © IMAGO/kolbert-press

Xabi Alonso's Bayer Leverkusen grateful for Álex Grimaldo's on-field mastery


Boasting a left foot capable of conjuring free-kick masterpieces and an on-field presence that oozes confidence, Alejandro 'Álex' Grimaldo is providing plenty of artistry to a buzzing Bayer Leverkusen.

With his latest accomplishment for the Werkself coming in the form of another gorgeous free-kick goal in Bayer's Matchday 6 win against Mainz, chatter surrounding a possible international call-up with Spain is doing the rounds.

"I'd certainly recommend that," Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso said of the possibility of Grimaldo getting a first senior call-up for La Roja. "It would be totally deserved; he [also] played really well at Benfica and he has the quality," Leverkusen's tactician added.  

After a super-quick bedding-in period in Germany following a free transfer from Benfica, Grimaldo has added much to a Leverkusen side that are purring under Alonso. Top of the standings after six games, B04 are the division's joint-leading scorers and have a defence that is second only to Eintracht Frankfurt in terms of goals conceded.

Watch: Grimaldo nets his second free-kick for Bayer this season

Along with other new arrivals to the BayArena such as Victor Boniface, Jonas Hofmann and Granit Xhaka, the importance of what Spanish full-back Grimaldo brings to Leverkusen's cause can't be understated. His assured performances from the left of defence have been complemented by two goals and as many assists in the German top flight alone while his ability from set-pieces has become a major boon to the side from North Rhine-Westphalia. 

The 28-year-old showed Bundesliga fans what he was capable of from a dead-ball situation against the reigning Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich on Matchday 4. A delicious, left-footed strike stunned the Allianz Arena as Grimaldo's superlative effort brought parity on a night when Bayer rescued a point in a 2-2 draw. 

Watch: Bayern Munich learn of Grimaldo's set-piece expertise

A couple of weeks later, the former Barcelona youth-team player then produced an equally eye-catching free-kick from just outside the Mainz area, expertly beating the 6'4" Robin Zentner and providing a break in what was a complicated game for the current pace-setters.

A set-piece specialist himself, Hofmann was also standing over the ball at that moment against the 05ers but would later say, "If [Grimaldo] converts every dead ball like that, he’s always more than welcome to go for it! I said the same after the Bayern game." Hofmann - who netted with a fine strike himself in the 3-0 win at Mainz - added, "If we continue to get these opportunities close to the opposition penalty area, [Alejandro] will score ten goals this season."

Following seven successful years at Benfica in which he won four top-flight titles, Grimaldo is excelling in his new surroundings and he previously pointed to the Alonso factor as being one of the key reasons he made the switch to the Bundesliga.

Watch: Grimaldo's free-kick vs. Mainz recreated on FC24

"The club and Xabi himself showed great interest me for a long time and they took time out for a lot of talks with me," the former Spain youth-team player told Bayer's official website after his signing.

"They made me feel positive and conveyed great confidence; I felt the positive energy from Xabi in the first few days I was here," Grimaldo added. "The energy he used to have on the pitch, is now transmitted to us. He also has a clear approach to football. He really is a top coach," the wing-back continued.

A former UEFA European U19 Championship winner with his country, Grimaldo - who also won two caps with his nation's U21s - could be in line for a call up to the Spain's senior side thanks to his fantastic feats with Leverkusen of late. Yet for now, the Spaniard will simply continue to enjoy his role playing for one of European football's most exciting sides.