Barcelona have revealed Aleix Vidal will miss the Catalan Super Cup against Espanyol on Tuesday night (25 October) after suffering a thigh injury during the preparation for the game. However, Spanish media are questioning the medical report provided by the club as the full-back's fortunes continue to dip at the Nou Camp.
Vidal was surprisingly included in the Barcelona squad for the La Liga weekend victory over Valencia. Yet the former Sevilla wing-back had been left out for the previous eight games and is yet to play a single minute since the 2-1 defeat against Alaves on 10 September, where he was at fault for the Basque side's second goal.
Reports in Spain have suggested that the relationship between Vidal and his manager, Luis Enrique, has broken down, and the Barcelona defender will thus try to force an exit during the coming January transfer window.
However, the Barcelona boss has said the opposite in public, encouraging the player to keep working hard in the training session to turn around his situation.
The Catalan Super Cup against Espanyol looked the perfect opportunity for Vidal to strive to do so, as Luis Enrique is expected to deploy a line-up full of fringe players. He has given special permission to Marc Andre Ter Stegen, Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets, Luis Suárez, Lionel Messi, Neymar, Javier Mascherano, Lucas Digne, Sergi Roberto and Samuel Umtiti to take a break until Thursday in order to have them fresh for the next La Liga match against Granada on Saturday.
Yet on Monday Luis Enrique revealed a 18-man squad without Vidal. The club explained his absence on their official website by claiming that the former Sevilla star suffered a thigh injury in the training session, joining Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba and Jasper Cillessen in the busy treatment room.
"Piqué, Iniesta, Jordi Alba, Cillessen and Aleix Vidal are all out through injury, the latter having been added to the list after picking up a thigh injury in training on Monday, and whose availability over the next few days will depend on how things develop," the club said.
But Sport and Mundo Deportivo are now questioning that injury and asserting that Vidal completed training without any problem, only going to the physio at the end of the session to claim he noted a slight pain in his right leg.
The Spanish publications claims that Luis Enrique was unimpressed by this and quickly opted to call young Sergi Palencia from the second team to complete his 18-man squad to face Espanyol. Sport says that the relationship between the Barcelona manager and the player has reached a point of no return and it would not be a surprise if he no longer calls him into the squad.
Meanwhile, Barcelona provided better news over Arda Turan after the Turkish international returned to the squad following his absence during the win over Valencia.
"Arda Turan's own fitness concerns are over and the Turk was able to train as normally along with the remaining available first team players at the Ciutat Esportiva," the club said.
The former Atletico Madrid star has been named in the 18-man squad with a number of players from the second team who are expected to prove themselves in the absence of the major stars.
Barcelona 18-man squad to face Espanyol:
Jordi Masip, Denis Suarez, Arda, Paco Alcácer, André Gomes, Jeremy Mathieu, José Suárez, Palencia, Mujica, Nili, Marlon, Moisés, Martínez, Sarsanedas, Aleñá, Alfaro, Gumbau and Carbonell.