"Maybe unconsciously I wasn't training at 100 per cent because I knew I couldn't play." Aleix Vidal began the season revealing some details of what happened last season.
And he did so with complete honesty, opening up about a meeting he had with manager Luis Enrique. "We had a chat in which we both said what we thought and we were able to solve what was happening," he said.
Since then, he's maintained a dialogue with his coach (Luis Enrique spoke with him last week but left him out of the squad against Celtic and Leganes), but his continued ostracism has led to him considering his future.
As is often the case in these scenarios, the player has his own list of dislikes and his manager has another.
"I had a long talk with the manager because I wasn't feeling great. He explained his opinion to me and I told him what I thought, too. I was unhappy with some things, the manager was unhappy with others"
A difficult start: The player maintains that not being able to play for several months at the start of last season did a lot of damage. Especially being a player who needs to feel able to showcase his best asset: his physical attributes.
Lack of continuiuty: Luis Enrique didn't make it easy for him to find any rhyhtm once he was able to play following the club's completion of a transfer ban. After playing some games, he'd miss others, while he hardly featured at the end of the season.
This season has not seen things change. In the last two games he has not even been in the squad. The player has already said he's not keen on being a back-up player.
"If at the end of this year the situation is the same, I will take a decision..."
Excessive criticism: Aleix believes that given the lack of opportunities he's had to play, he's been overly judged since making his first team debut.
The right-back feels he has been given little room for error and doesn't feel his decision to join Barça (knowing he couldn't play for six months) when he had other offers has been valued.
Adjusting to a new position: Aleix only played as a full-back during the end of his time with Sevilla, which drew Barça's interest. It was an express learning curve for Vidal, who recognised he was still adjusting to the position, especially at Barça, where there is less protection than at Sevilla.
Luis Enrique: "To beat Celtic we must be strong in defence, be aggressive and be quick." Luis Enrique: "Per guanyar al Celtic haurem de ser contundents en defensa, ser agressius i ser ràpids" Luis Enrique: "Para ganar al Celtic tendremos que ser contundentes en defensa, ser agresivos y ser rápidos" #FCBCeltic #UCL #igersFCB #LuisEnrique #FCBarcelona @fcbarcelona
Luis Enrique's reasons:
Sketchy play: Vidal's lacking continuity in his play. His presence is irregular and that's costing him when it comes to his final pass or ball. The Catalan has shown intensity, but he's lacked precision in the final third.
No partners: He's still not found the necessary chemistry with his team-mates on the right flank. He hasn't got up to speed with the team's mechanisms. It tells in his play. He doesn't have the natural relationship that Dani Alves -- or even Sergi Roberto -- had with players like Rakitic and Messi.
Defensive struggles: This is one of the areas the player has worked most on. The right-back suffers defensively, though, and the coaching staff expect more from him. When he signed for the club he said he'd take advantage of his time not playing to work on his defending.
"You can always improve your attacking, but it's the defensive area of my game I am working on and will continue working on during these months to strengthen where I need to"
Sergi Roberto: The eruption of Sergi Roberto has eclipsed an Aleix Vidal who, when he arrived, wouldn't even have considered the midfielder as competition for his place.
The decision to use Roberto as a right-back last season has been a blow for Vidal, who in theory was supposed to be competing with Dani Alves for minutes. The Brazilian's departure, in theory, made more space for him, but in the last match Luis Enrique even preferred Rafinha as a right wing back and a back three.
It's a tricky situation, especially considering the club continue to work on signing Hector Bellerin from Arsenal.