Barcelona right-back Aleix Vidal has been left out of Luis Enrique's 18-man squad for the trip to Real Sociedad on Thursday night (19 January) despite his remarkable performance in Saturday's 5-0 win over Las Palmas. Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Jeremy Mathieu and the injured Rafinha Alcantara are also set to to miss the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarter-finals at San Sebastian, but Gerard Piqué, Denis Suárez, Sergi Roberto and third-choice keeper Jordi Masip return after missing the weekend clash.
Vidal has only made six appearance for Barcelona during the opening stretch of the season after falling out of favour with Luis Enrique. The versatile Sergi Roberto has covered the right-back role following the summer departure of Dani Alves to Juventus.
His fortunes looked set for a U-turn after Luis Enrique handed him a rare starting appearance during the victory over Las Palmas. Vidal made the most of the opportunity, scoring one goal and being named man of the match by both fans and the media.
Luis Enrique, speaking after the game, suggested that Vidal could have more chances to prove his worth in forthcoming games after admitting he might not have been totally fair to the former Sevilla wing-back since his arrival at the Nou Camp.
"Aleix Vidal is physically very strong with a very high rhythm. He is in great physical condition and trains really well. He's proved his manager wrong and he's ready to compete," Luis Enrique said. "He was excellent today. It's great for me to have all of my players ready and I'm convinced that they can contribute."
However, Luis Enrique has decided to leave Vidal out once again for the squad to face Real Sociedad, alongside fellow outcast Mathieu and and goalkeeper Ter Stegen. Jasper Cillesen is the preferred custodian in the Copa del Rey since joining the club in the summer to replace Claudio Bravo.
Rafinha will also miss the visit to Anoeta after Barcelona revealed the Brazil international had suffered a hamstring injury.
The Copa del Rey holders eliminated out Hercules and Athletic Club Bilbao in the previous rounds of the competition and will visit Real Sociedad for the first-leg of the quarter finals, with the reverse fixture to be played at the Nou Camp on 26 January.