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Barca’s Battle With Vidal Over £2m Bonus Goes On

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La Liga leaders Barcelona will be looking to preserve their two-point lead over Real Madrid when they visit local rivals Espanyol on Saturday however their preparations have been hit by a legal battle with their own midfielder Arturo Vidal.

The Chilean’s lawyers filed a complaint to Spain’s player’s union (AFE) last month citing an unpaid bonus of £2million, news of which emerged while the player was back in his homeland during the league’s winter break.

Barca have declined to comment on the complaint, while Vidal has said it's an issue for his representatives, however has declared it's ‘unfair’ he hasn't received all of the £3.5m his people believe he is owed in total in appearance bonuses.

He was reportedly set to receive the bonuses if he featured in 60 per cent of games last season, and he appeared to cross that threshold by playing in 53 matches in all competitions.

But the club believe he does not qualify because he didn't play a minimum of 45 minutes per game, and say the lawyers have misinterpreted his contract.

Vidal has only started four of Barca’s 18 league games this season, making 10 substitute’s appearances, and was left out of the line-up for the club’s biggest matches against Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid.

In November he told Catalan network TV3 he would ‘look for a solution and look to other horizons’ if he didn't regain a regular place in the side.

But his dispute with the club comes at a time when the team is light in midfield, with Brazilian Arthur Melo ruled out for three weeks with a groin problem while Carles Alena has joined Real Betis on loan.

Vidal spoke out about the situation for the first time on the weekend, telling Sport: ‘The person in charge of this is not me. For that it’s my representative and my lawyer, who takes care of these bonuses.’

The Chilean has made just six starts for the club this season, however has scored five goals in that short space of time.

It has been reported that Inter Milan boss Antonio Conte is simply a fan of his after they worked together at Juventus and would be keen to bring him to the San Siro in January.

Frenkie de Jong joined the Catalan outfit this summer and has slotted in as a first choice centre-midfielder, leaving Vidal frustrated on the bench.

The Catalans will also be without first choice keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen for their game against Espanol, meaning Brazilian Neto will make his league debut.

Barca’s rivals are bottom of La Liga and have appointed their third coach of the season in Abelardo Fernandez.

Real Madrid slipped two points behind the champions by drawing their final game of 2019 at home to Athletic Bilbao and begin the new year with a gruelling match at neighbours Getafe, who are sixth in the standings.

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