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Getting to Know: Aleix Vidal

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A review of Aleix Vidal's career path before he joined Barcelona.

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Full name: Aleix Vidal Parreu
Squad No: -
Position: Right-Winger
Date of birth: 21 August 1989
Place of birth: Valls, Spain
Height: 1.76 m (5 ft 9 in)
Weight: 70 kg (154 lbs)

Aleix Vidal was born in the small town of Valls, Catalonia, and it was in his hometown where he started his journeyman career, in which he has only twice spent consecutive seasons in the same organization. As an eleven year-old Vidal took part in his first organized youth football, at the Valls Aleví A section. The next season he moved approximately 100km (62 miles) east and joined Barcelona's La Masia, playing alongside Jordi Alba at the Infantil B team, but the Barça coaches didn't see enough from the youngster to promote him to the next youth rank, and Vidal was released from the club.

Vidal would continue his youth development at Cambrils, in the 2002-03 season, before joining Gimnastic de Tarragona at the Cadet B level the following year. In 2004, Vidal entered Real Madrid's football academy, where he went through the Cadet A and Juvenil C teams, but similarly to coaches at Barcelona, Real Madrid also decided to pass on extending Vidal's stay.

As a 17-year-old Vidal moved to CF Reus, near his hometown, where he impressed enough to get an offer from Espanyol. Vidal signed the deal, but he would never play for the Espanyol first team. First he was loaned out to CF Damm where he continued his development at the club's highest youth rank. At the beginning of the 2008-09 season Vidal took part in two Espanyol B matches, but the coaches were left unimpressed and loaned the 20-year-old to Greece to Panthrakikos FC in the Greece Super League where he played in eight games, but failed to score.

In 2009, Vidal bid his farewell to Espanyol and re-joined Gimnastic de Tarragona. Vidal expected he would spend the season playing for the first team in the Segunda División, but after playing one game for Nastic, he was loaned out once again, this time to Pobla de Mafumet in the Tercera División, Spain's fourth tier. Vidal made the most of his time 15 kilometers (8 miles) south of his hometown, making 31 appearances and scoring seven goals. The following season he signed a one year contract with Mallorca B where he built on his strong season with Pobla, scoring six goals in 35 games in the Segunda Divison B.

In June 2011, Vidal joined Almeria on a free transfer. He began his career in Andalusia with the club's B team, but scoring two goals in his debut game saw Vidal quickly promoted to the first team. Vidal would gradually become one of Almeria's best players and over the course of three seasons Vidal scored 19 goals, added 14 assists in 130 games.

That proved to be enough for shrewd sporting director Monchi to pull the trigger on a €3 million transfer that brought Vidal to Sevilla. Almost immediately he became a key player in Unai Emery's Europa League winning side. In his first (and only) season with the Andalusian giants Vidal took part in 47 games, scored six goals and handed out eleven assists. With that breakout season, he started appearing on radars of even bigger clubs than Sevilla. In June 2015, Barcelona came knocking and when Sevilla accepted the €18 million + €4 million transfer fee, Vidal jumped at the chance to come home to Catalonia, even if it meant waiting until January 2016 to first put on the Barcelona shirt in an official game.

Vidal got the first taste of international football with the Catalan national team, making his debut on 30 December 2013 against Cape Verde. It was his first of two appearances he has made in the Senyera shirt. Vidal was never capped at any of the Spain Under-Age levels, but he was handed his La Roja debut on 11 June in a friendly match win against Costa Rica.

Profile

Vidal is the type of player every coach dreams of having on his team - extremely hard working that will never quit on the play, may it on offense or on defense and capable of playing numerous positions - anywhere on the right side, but can also fill in on the left side if necessary. An accurate passer of the ball that is capable of finishing off chances on his own. Defensively he could still be considered a work in progress, but his incredible motor often gets him out of trouble on plays in which he was initially out of position.

Honors

Sevilla

  • UEFA Europa League (1): 2014-15

Vidal signed a five year contract with Barcelona that will kick in on July 1.