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Barcelona signs Spain defender Alba

Barcelona acquired Spain left back Jordi Alba from Valencia on Thursday for $17.4 million and signed him to a five-year contract.

A former Barcelona youth player, the 23-year-old Alba joined the club's famous youth academy in 1998. He remained with Barca through 2005 before leaving for Valencia.

Alba helped Valencia finish third in La Liga each of the last three years, and will end his stint with the club after appearing in 75 matches. He should move right into the starting lineup for Barca, replacing Eric Abidal.

He debuted for Spain last year, and has started all five games at Euro 2012 as the team has returned to a major final for the third straight time. Spain won Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup.

Spain will play either Germany or Italy in the Euro 2012 final Sunday.