He started his career at Barcelona, but was released for being deemed too small. After joining neighbouring Cornellà he finished his development at Valencia, rising to prominence in La Liga with the club; in 2012, he returned to Barcelona.
Alba represented Spain at the 2014 World Cup and two European Championships, having first appeared for the team in 2011. Alba won the Euro 2012 tournament.
Born in L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Catalonia, Alba started his career in the youth ranks of FC Barcelona as a left winger, but was released by the club in 2005 for being deemed too small. He then joined neighbouring UE Cornellà and, after almost two years, departed in a €6,000 deal to Valencia CF where he finished his football education.
After helping the reserves earn promotion from Tercera División in 2007–08, Alba made his professional debut the following season, playing on loan at Segunda División club Gimnàstic de Tarragona, where he performed consistently (22 starts).
After returning to Los Che, Alba made his La Liga debut on 13 September 2009, in a 4–2 win at Real Valladolid. He then started in two consecutive UEFA Europa League group stage matches, against Lille OSC and SK Slavia Prague (both 1–1 draws, respectively away and home). Due to continuing injuries in Valencia's defensive sector, he played much of 2009–10 as a left back, posting overall good performances; in that position, on 11 April 2010, he scored his first goal for the club, in a 2–3 away loss to RCD Mallorca.
In 2010–11, still with Unai Emery in charge, Alba was used almost exclusively in the defensive sector, battling for first-choice status with Jérémy Mathieu. He contributed with 27 league games as the team again finished third, with the subsequent qualification to the UEFA Champions League.
In the following campaign, Emery began using the players simultaneously down Valencia's left side, a strategy he had tested the previous season. This proved an effective tactic as Alba and Mathieu frequently interchanged position and offered support for one another in both attacking and defensive areas; ultimately, the player credited the manager as a "key man" in his successful transition to a more defensive role.
On 28 June 2012, Alba signed a five-year contract with Barcelona for a transfer fee of €14 million. He made his official debut on 19 August, playing the full 90 minutes in a 5–1 home win against Real Sociedad.
Alba scored his first goal for the Blaugrana on 20 October 2012, netting the opener in a 5–4 win at Deportivo de La Coruña, and scoring the last one through an own goal. In the following game, at home against Celtic for the Champions League group stage, he found the net in the 93rd minute for a 2–1 triumph.
On 12 March 2013, Alba scored his fifth goal of the campaign, netting in the last-minute to complete Barcelona's 4–0 home win over A.C. Milan in the Champions League round-of-16 after a 0–2 loss, which signified his team was the first in the competition's history to overturn such a deficit. He ended his first year at the Camp Nou as league champion, as Tito Vilanova's side regained the title from Real Madrid.
On 2 June 2015, Alba agreed to a new five-year deal with a new buyout clause of €150 million. Four days later, he started in the Champions League final, helping the club to its fifth accolade in the competition by beating Juventus F.C. at Berlin's Olympiastadion. He contributed with 38 appearances all competitions comprised (one goal), in an eventual treble conquest.
On 22 May 2016, Alba won the second Copa del Rey of his career – also second with Barcelona – scoring in the 97th minute of the final against Sevilla FC after a through pass from Lionel Messi, in an eventual 2–0 extra time triumph at the Vicente Calderón Stadium.
Alba represented the Spanish team at the 2008 UEFA European Under-19 Championship, as well as appearing in all four games as the nation won the gold medal at the 2009 Mediterranenan Games. He was also part of the squad at the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Egypt.
Alba received his first call-up to the full side on 30 September 2011, for the last two UEFA Euro 2012 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Scotland. He made his debut in the latter game on 11 October, a 3–1 win in Alicante in which his cut back from the left wing provided the assist for the opening goal, scored by former Valencia teammate David Silva; his impressive debut confirmed his status as a strong candidate to be the long-term successor of Joan Capdevila as the regular left back for La Roja.
Alba was included in Vicente del Bosque's squad for the finals in Poland and Ukraine, and played all the matches for the eventual winners. He supplied the cross for Xabi Alonso to open the scoring in the 2–0 quarter-final victory over France; in the final against Italy, after running onto a pass from Xavi during a counter-attack, he scored the second goal in a 4–0 win.
Alba was also selected for the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil. He played four complete matches during the tournament, netting twice in the 3–0 group stage win over Nigeria.
Alba made Del Bosque's list for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, making three appearances as the defending champions crashed out in the group stage.
Alba is a technically very gifted and fast attacking left-back who can also be used as a left winger. His pace and stamina allows him to be very involved in both offense and defense as he can get from one end of the pitch to the other very quickly.As of 16 September 2017
As of 2 September 2017
Scores and results lists Spain's goal tally first.
La Liga: 2012–13, 2014–15, 2015–16
Copa del Rey: 2014–15, 2015–16, 2016–17
Supercopa de España: 2013, 2016
UEFA Champions League: 2014–15
UEFA Super Cup: 2015
FIFA Club World Cup: 2015
UEFA European Championship: 2012
FIFA Confederations Cup: Runner-up 2013
Mediterranean Games: 2009
UEFA Champions League Team of the Season: 2014–15
UEFA Euro Team of the Tournament: 2012
La Liga Team of the Season: 2014–15