Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal has expressed his ongoing disappointment about not being a starter, having had to make do with yet another substitute appearance in the Champions League win over Slavia Prague this week.
Vidal has featured in seven of Barcelona’s 11 games in all competitions this season, but the veteran Chilean has been in the starting XI for only one of those fixtures, featuring for 209 minutes overall.
Sergio Busquets, Frenkie de Jong and Arthur have been coach Ernesto Valverde’s preferred midfield trio this season, with Ivan Rakitic also relegated to a bit-part role.
Both players were more regular last season, but Rakitic in particular has lost his place to €75m De Jong. Arthur’s greater emergence has contributed to Vidal’s lessened opportunities.
“The game was difficult for us, but I am just as sad about not being a starter,” Vidal lamented, via Marca, after the Slavia win, which was decided by an own goal.
“It’s difficult [not to be a starter] when physically and football-wise you’re fine, and every time I’ve played I’ve done so in the best way possible,” the former Bayern Munich star continued.
“It’s the coach’s decision but I’m always ready and I’m waiting for the next few games to play more minutes. I will continue to work hard to get back to being a starter.”
Coach Ernesto Valverde has unsurprisingly favoured established superstars Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann alongside Messi, with Fati not getting on the pitch at all since 24 September.
The teenager was recently left out of Spain’s Under-17 World Cup squad amid fears that his absence would be detrimental to his club. But if the youngster is only sitting on the bench, he might wish he was playing at the youth tournament in Brazil instead.