According to a juicy report this morning ahead of today’s El Clasico, Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal stormed out of a training session on Tuesday after learning he would not start today’s match against Real Madrid.
A report by ESPN’s Sam Marsden and Moises Llorens claims that Vidal usually stays after training for shooting practice, but yesterday he left early after being told the news. The report claims that a few players attempted to calm the Chilean international, but their efforts were unsuccessful.
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News of the midfielder’s benching is no surprise. Vidal, now 32 years old, has been out of the Barcelona starting lineup for some time now, relegated to a substitute role since the 3-1 loss to Levante in early November. Since, he has since been left on the bench once and come on as a substitute in four league games. At first Arthur had taken Vidal’s place after the Levante match, but after the Brazilian was injured in the second half of the win over Atletico Madrid, it has been a trio of Frenkie de Jong, Ivan Rakitic, and Sergio Busquets for manager Ernesto Valverde.
Vidal’s contract runs through the summer of 2021, so it is absolutely feasible that he could leave in January as the club hopes to secure some cash for his services. Still, it’s unlikely they would actively shop a player who remains a key member of the squad, especially with Arthur again struggling with injury, a common theme over his two seasons at Barcelona. With Rakitic not exactly playing at a consistent level either, Vidal still could be a critical part of this Barcelona season.
The 32-year-old spoke about his lack of playing time a few weeks ago, saying if he didn’t feel important he would have to leave. Italian side Inter had been linked with Vidal, but Spanish publication El Mundo Deportivo claims that interest has cooled now that Inter has been bounced from the Champions League.