5 big disappointments in Europe's top 5 leagues so far this season
The international break is upon us once again and as the football media slows down for a period, it's a good time to look back at the start to the 2018/2019 league campaign. As always, large amounts of money were splashed by Europe's elite and there have been many success stories: Liverpool's new goalkeeper Alisson has finally solved that problem position and been a large part of their excellent start; despite recent off-field controversies, Cristiano Ronaldo has contributed goals and assists consistently since joining Juventus from Real Madrid.
It's too early to write off a player's season completely, given its infancy, but several high-profile footballers have undoubtedly not performed to the level they're capable of so far. Here are, five of the biggest disappointments in Europe's top five leagues in the season until now.
#1 Arturo Vidal (Barcelona)
For almost a decade now, the tigerish Vidal has been feverishly roaming some of the best midfield areas of Europe's top teams. He was the protector of the imperious Andrea Pirlo at Juventus, winning consecutive league titles and reaching a Champions League final. He moved to Bayern Munich and performed a similar job for the classy Xabi Alonso, again amassing an impressive trophy haul.
This summer he added another giant to his record, joining Barcelona. The move, however, has started to turn sour. Vidal has struggled to nail down a regular starting, spot but this is mostly down to his manager Ernesto Valverde and his rigorous favourites. The long-serving Ivan Rakitic has occupied Vidal's preferred spot, despite performing below-par (apart from his stunning volley against Tottenham recently). The Croatian offers none of the ferocity or positional sense that Vidal does and many Barcelona fans have noticed this.
Things boiled over last week after that Tottenham game, with Vidal making his feelings clearly known to his management; it's led to the Chilean being reprimanded in the media and blasted for his arrogance. Still only 31, Vidal still has plenty left in to offer and will be hoping to show more in a Barcelona shirt soon.