Angry emoji now "a thing of the past", says Barcelona's Arturo Vidal

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Arturo Vidal.

Arturo Vidal insists his angry emoji Instagram story from earlier in the season is now a thing of the past.

The Chilean midfielder caused quite a storm after he left an angry emoji on an Instagram story after being left out of the Barcelona squad that took on Tottenham at Wembley in the Champions League.

In an interview with RAC1, the Chilean expressed his discontent on a lack of playing time at that moment, but brushed it off, saying that it is all in the past.

“There was a little bit of annoyance, but it’s in the past,” he said.

“A player always wants to play and to be important. You come here to contribute, not to cause problems in such an important team.

“It was a little bit of a heated thing, but it’s in the past. I’m only thinking about working, doing things well and winning titles.

“I don’t feel like a starter, but this is something that is earned training session to training session and whenever you are called upon to play.”

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Jeison Murillo can be a seamless fit to Barcelona's defence

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Jeison Murillo

Barcelona signed Jeison Murillo on loan from Valencia until the end of the season.

With Samuel Umtiti nursing a knee injury and Thomas Vermaelen sidelined for one month, the Catalan club have found a solution to their centre-back crisis with the acquisition of the Colombian international.

Here, we take a closer look at the 26-year-old.

PLAYER PROFILE

Name: Jeison Murillo

Age: 26

Height: 6’

Position: Defender

Notable past clubs: Inter, Valencia

La Liga 2017-18 Stats

Appearances (as a substitute): 15 (2)

Tackles per game: 1.8

Interceptions per game: 1.7

Clearances per game: 4.9

Blocks per game: 0.5

STRENGTHS

Murillo is comfortable playing in a high defensive line, which should allow him to fit into Barcelona’s system seamlessly. The former Inter man is skilled, athletic and capable of covering the space he leaves behind while playing a high line.

The Cali native might not be as skilled a ball-playing centre-back like Gerard Pique or Umtiti, but he is comfortable with the ball at his feet and will get accustomed to the Barcelona style of play in no time.

Producing a threat in the opposition’s box is yet another arrow in his quiver. The defender can attack set-pieces and doesn’t shy away from throwing in a couple of acrobatic efforts.

Jeison Murillo

Jeison Murillo

WEAKNESSES

Murillo was involved in just one game in La Liga this campaign and getting Cristiano Ronaldo sent off in Valencia’s Champions League tie is probably the highlight of his season to date.

The player’s apparent fall-out with coach Marcelino has caused him to warm the bench at Valencia. At least Barcelona fans can breathe a sigh of relief that his omission from the last five matchday squad has nothing to do with his performance.

However, Murillo will not be match fit when he arrives at the Camp Nou, having played so little over the past three months. This is something that could force Ernesto Valverde to select Barcelona B player Chumi until Murillo gets some running into his legs.

The defender is also prone to mistakes that can lead to goal, but he can use his pace to rectify these errors. The Colombian must also work on his press-resistance in order to get accustomed to the Barcelona style of play.

VERDICT

Murillo was a victim of limited playing time at Valencia this term after a successful debut season with the Spanish club where he played a major role in their top-four finish. Desperate for a short-term central defensive option, Barcelona and Murillo seem to be a perfect match for each other and the risks involved are extremely less.

With Umtiti set to miss the remainder of the season due to a knee surgery and Vermaelen being a victim of constant injuries, Murillo will have a key role this season as Barcelona challenge for all three trophies. It is unlikely the 26-year-old will replace Clement Lenglet from the starting line-up and should function as a third-choice centre-back.

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Loan deal for Jeison Murillo a stroke of brilliance from Barcelona

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Jeison Murillo

With Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet the only two fit centre-backs at Barcelona, bringing in a defender as cover was seen as a priority for Ernesto Valverde.

Logically, Barcelona had to make a move for a short-term fix that could help the club until the injured Samuel Umtiti and Thomas Vermaelen return to full fitness. Former Real Madrid player Pepe and Chelsea’s Andres Christensen emerged as possible matches but the La Liga champions decided to search for a potential candidate within the league and hence signed Valencia’s Murillo.

The deal is a six-month loan with the option to buy the 26-year-old for €25m at the end of the season. In truth, it’s a move that could prove to be a fantastic one for the club and the risks associated are incredibly low.

With experience of playing in the top flight in Italy and Spain, Murillo can prove to be an excellent back-up option to the likes of Pique and Umtiti. The Colombian international has plied his trade at Valencia for 18 months now and has accustomed well to the league.

This transfer promises to be a tremendous move for the club from both the short-term and long-term perspectives.

It is no secret anymore that Dutch sensation Maathijs de Ligt is a target for most top European clubs and this hunt is spearheaded by Barcelona.

Matthijs de Ligt is a prime Barcelona target

Matthijs de Ligt is a prime Barcelona target

The fact that Murillo’s loan deal runs until next summer does not close the door for de Ligt’s transfer to the Catalan club.

All evidence points to the fact that the Ajax defender will be wearing Barcelona colours soon and the Murillo deal keeps the best interests of this move intact while providing a short-term fix for the remainder of the season.

De Ligt has been tipped to be the successor of Pique and if everything goes according to plan, Barcelona will have the centre-back position sorted for the next 7-8 years.

In the case that de Ligt refuses a move to Barcelona, the club can execute the option to buy Murillo on a permanent deal. His €25m price tag is an extremely small sum in the inflated market for a player who has already proved himself in a top league.

In the worst and unlikely scenario that de Ligt decides against the Barcelona move and Murillo fails to impress at the Catalan club, Ernesto Valverde will still have four fit defenders next season.

This deal has all attributes to be deemed a well-thought and calculated move.

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