Luis Enrique insists Aleix Vidal is still in his Barcelona plans, despite the full-back’s continued absence from the squad and cryptic Instagram post.
Vidal posted a picture of himself in training, captioned by an emoji of a zipped mouth and a middle finger, seen by some as directed towards Enrique.
The upload has since been deleted, although the former Sevilla man was left out of the trip to Sporting, his fourth consecutive omission.
“We expect a Sporting that will play with the same idea as last season and pose a block,” the Coach said at a Press conference.
“They’ll make it difficult for us to move the ball and put us under some high-pressure moments.
“I’m counting on Mascherano, Sergi Roberto, Ivan and Andre [in Busquets’ absence]. We have options to replace Busi.
“It seems perfect that [people] can form an opinion [on Aleix]. It’s his life and my decisions speak for themselves.
“Aleix is training swimmingly and trying to change a situation that’s not good for him. If there’s a Coach that a player can change their situation under, it’s me.”
Enrique was also asked about Paco Alcacer’s chances in Messi’s absence for the next three weeks, Douglas’ progress at Sporting and Luis Suarez, who recently hit the headlines for his criticism of Filipe Luis’ Instagram post of a wound inflicted by the Uruguayan.
“[Paco] doesn’t have to prove anything because he has more talent than he’s shown,” he added.
“He’s held in high regard. He’ll do well to get a few minutes, but there’s no doubts about his performance. There are many options to replace Messi and we value them all.
“Do you think I should assess a loan [referring to Douglas] in Week 5? Wait until the 38th.
“I just found out the interest in this news. I’m sure he had no intention of offending anyone in this world, but interpretations are the order of the day.
“[On Suarez’s minutes during the next international break], I don’t care about what happens in three weeks.”