BARCELONA – La Liga leaders Barcelona will be looking to preserve their two-point lead over Real Madrid when they visit local rivals Espanyol on Saturday but 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 2.4 million euros ($2.69 million), 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 its an issue for his representatives but has declared it is "unfair" he has not received all of the 4.1 million euros his people believe he is owed in total in appearance bonuses.
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.
He has not accepted his drop in influence in the team quietly, telling Catalan network TV3 in November he would "look for a solution and look to other horizons" if he did not regain a regular place in the side.