BARCELONA (Reuters) - Barcelona fullback Aleix Vidal has vowed to stay at the club and fight for his place after producing his finest display so far in their 4-0 Champions League rout of Borussia Moenchengladbach.
The out of favour defender flew up and down the right flank on Tuesday with energy and determination not seen since his final months with Sevilla and gave constant support to the attack, providing the cutback for Arda Turan to make it 3-0.
Vidal has endured a hapless second season at the Nou Camp and at one point was excluded from the squad for seven games in a row, even when he was the team’s only available right back.
An exit in January looked inevitable but his outstanding display against Moenchengladbach, albeit in a dead rubber with the Catalans already guaranteed top spot in Group C, suggests Vidal, 27, could yet carve out a career at his boyhood club.
“The club can decide what it wants to do but I have no intention of leaving. It would be stupid to leave the best club in the world and I believe I can succeed here,” he said.
Luis Enrique has avoided questions about Vidal all season but gave a glowing assessment of the player’s performance.
“He was spectacular, he is in brilliant physical condition despite not competing for so long and he played really well, in attack, in defence, with the ball and without it,” he said.
Catalan-born Vidal was an unsuccessful youth trainee at Barca but rejoined them in 2015 after helping Sevilla win the Europa League, although a ban on the club registering new signings stopped him making his debut for seven months.
With his progress having been stymied, Vidal failed to make an impression at the Nou Camp in his first few appearances and soon found himself third choice in his position behind veteran Dani Alves and Sergi Roberto, who was originally a midfielder.
Alves’ departure in the close season should have opened the door to Vidal but Roberto has remained first choice with Vidal practically discarded after a poor display in a shock 2-1 home defeat by Alaves, even when Roberto was injured.
Hiss secondary status at the club was underlined when he was given permission to miss two days of training to get married, which would have been unthinkable for any other player.
A lifeless performance in a King’s Cup game against Hercules did little to suggest he had a future at Barcelona but, after delighting the Nou Camp with his explosive display against Moenchengladbach, Vidal hopes he will get another chance.
“I’ll have no problem with the coach because I‘m not confrontational and I’ll try and wait for more opportunities,” he said. “I’ll keep giving 1,000 percent effort. I hope I can change my situation.”
Reporting by Richard Martin; editing by Ken Ferris