Luis Enrique opted to deploy Sergi Roberto as a right-back at the start of the season as he preferred him to former Sevilla man, Aleix Vidal.
Roberto’s uninterrupted presence in the side meant that Vidal would be used sparingly in the midst of Barcelona’s title bid.
Over the last couple of months, though, Aleix Vidal managed to fight his way back into the first-team set-up following a string of solid performances which undoubtedly opened up a debate about who would be better suited to line up at right-back for the Blaugrana.
While Vidal and Sergi Roberto were in a heated battle for a regular spot in the line-up, Barcelona were set to benefit from the strong competition for a place in the team seeing as it would lead both Vidal and Roberto to perform at an optimal level in a bid to retain a spot in the line-up.
It’s fair to say everything was beginning to look perfect for Vidal up until Barca’s 6-0 win over Alaves.
The 27-year-old lined up at right-back against Alaves and put up a scintillating display. Vidal made some key contributions in the game including orchestrating a goal for Luis Suarez in the first half.
As the match progressed, Aleix Vidal had to be stretchered off following an ankle injury.
What looked like a great day for the Spanish full-back soon turned into a nightmare as his run in the side wasn’t cut short by Luis Enrique, but by a horrific ankle injury which will see him sit out the rest of the campaign.
Sergi Roberto was offered a way back into the team by the man who had been vying for his spot since the start of the season.
While Roberto has now returned to being a mainstay in Barca’s lineup, the Catalan giants are likely to be left without a backup option for the 25-year-old should he suffer an injury or go through a poor run of form at any point this term.
Barca’s performances have been somewhat shaky recently, and the last thing the team need is being left without a suitable replacement in a critical position.
Roberto was below par in the previous week’s 4-0 loss to PSG as Julian Draxler gave him a torrid time. His performance against Leganes on Sunday wasn’t particularly great either.
Barca are seemingly stuck with Sergi Roberto for the rest of the season which may very well hurt the Blaugrana’s resolve if the Spaniard fails to improve his performance levels.
Real Madrid are currently on top of the table with two games in hand. Thus, Barcelona can’t accommodate any sort of errors at this stage of the campaign which is why Luis Enrique is unlikely to utilise a player from the B team to serve as Roberto’s deputy.
Under Spanish football rules, Barcelona are allowed to sign a replacement for Aleix Vidal seeing as he’s out for the rest of the season.
The rules stipulate that Barca will only be allowed to recruit a Spanish player or a free agent which in itself makes the right-back conundrum even more complicated due to the fact that it considerably limits Barca’s options for Aleix Vidal’s replacement.