Aleix Vidal was one of the most promising Barcelona signings in recent memory. It wasn't high-profile in any way, but his transfer last summer gave Barça fans hope that the club had finally found a replacement to legendary full-back Dani Alves, especially after Vidal's sensational season with Sevilla.
Because of a transfer ban, it took Vidal six months to be registered and able to play for the club, and his start was impressive. Luis Enrique used the Spaniard a lot, not only as a substitute but also starting in place of Alves in a few matches. Just like the rest of his team during a historic 39-game unbeaten streak, Vidal thrived and showed versatility to play as a right-back or on the wings, and he looked set to become a star in the future.
Then he got injured and missed two weeks, and we haven't seen Aleix since. His last start was against Getafe more than six weeks ago, and in the last several matches he has gone down the pecking order rapidly, being left out of the matchday squad lists and watching all games either from home or the stands. Even Douglas Pereira has been chosen before him.
And things got worse when Luis Enrique gave this short, direct answer to a question about Vidal:
"The squad lists and the teams that I decide say enough. I don't tend to publicly comment on my decisions."
Source: Diario Sport
But what has happened to Vidal? And does he even have a future with Barça? Was his signing a failure?
According to a report from Diario Sport, Vidal has gone down the ranks because of a lack of competitiveness and commitment in his last few appearances. Enrique and the coaching staff have noted the player does not give his all on defense, and fails to fulfill his offensive duties as well for a simple lack of effort and tactical awareness.
Also according to the report, Vidal has accepted the criticism from his coaches and is willing to work harder for another chance. After all, he cost €20 million and had huge expectations from Enrique, but appeared to have taken his new club for granted and stopped giving his all in every moment, which led to this current situation. There are no talks of a transfer yet, but one can imagine this would be the way to go if Vidal doesn't change his attitude.
This is a similar situation that Jérémy Mathieu went through earlier this season. Back then, he was also criticized by Enrique and his staff for lack of effort, and the Frenchman clearly improved his performances before suffering a knee injury.
Here is hoping Vidal's situation can end with the full-back finally improving and showing his worth.