Barcelona signing Aleix Vidal completes a remarkable footballing journey

FC Barcelona

This isn't the first time Aleix Vidal has donned the famous colours of FC Barcelona, having once been cast aside by them as a youngster.

His story is one that can inspire young footballers around the world, with a clear message: If at first you don't succeed, try and try again.

Aleix Vidal has certainly done that to eventually secure his dream move to Champions League winners Barcelona, who officially announced his signing on Monday 8th June, after paying Europa League winners Sevilla €18 million plus variables.

Hailing from the small Catalan town of Valls in Taragona province, Vidal started his footballing adventure as a raw talent with his local side, in the Under-12's category. He quickly impressed though, earning an opportunity at La Masia with Barcelona.

However, after playing just one year with the Barcelona Under-14's during the 2001-02 season, Vidal wasn't seen as having enough talent to remain at La Masia, but that didn't mean the youngster was going to give up trying, in his attempts to become a professional footballer.

For the following two years, Vidal had spells with local sides Veterans Cambrils and Gimnastic de Tarragona, before another fantastic opportunity came his way. This time it was Real Madrid, where he spent two seasons playing for their Under-15's and Under-18's C teams.

Still though, it seemed Vidal wasn't demonstrating enough to convince another of the Spanish football giants and after a time which included a loan back to Gimnastic, he was eventually released, heading back to Catalunya to join fourth-tier side Reus, for his first taste of senior football in the Tercera Division.

The 2006-07 campaign with Reus was a successful one, as they gained promotion to the Segunda B and Vidal once more caught the eye of top-flight scouts. This time it was Espanyol, but as he'd experienced thus far in his young career, nothing would be straightforward.

Vidal was loaned to CF Damm, before featuring sparingly for Espanyol B team, then other loan spells beckoned. A season with Greek outfit Panthrakikos was followed by a third spell with Gimnastic during the 2009-10 season, principally through their subsidiary team, Pobla Mafumet.

Once more Vidal was moving on to chase his dream, heading to the Balearic islands, where he spent the 2010-11 season playing the Segunda B with the Mallorca B team, as they struggled to a 19th position finish. Hardly inspiring for a footballer whose dreams of playing top-flight football seemed to be evaporating.

Then came a move which would prove to be arguably the most important step of his young career, when Almeria offered him an opportunity to play in the Segunda. Vidal certainly didn't waste it, finishing the 2011-12 campaign with 41 appearances and five goals to his name.

Continuing to be a key player in the first-team, the 2012-13 season was even better for Vidal. Making 37 appearances and scoring four goals, he helped Almeria clinch a promotion play-off spot. Then he and his team achieved their dream, as he scored twice in the four play-off games, as they gained promotion to La Liga. After so many attempts to prove himself, the man from Valls now had an opportunity to demonstrate his talents at the highest level.

Although Almeria were constantly battling against relegation during the 2013-14 campaign in La Liga, Vidal proved a constant thorn in the side of opposing defences, with his lightning speed, often bursting past his markers on the right flank. His impressive displays, scoring six goals in 38 games, also caught the attention of bigger clubs.

In the summer of 2014, Sevilla had absolutely no hesitations when they invested €3 million to sign Vidal from Almeria, and during the 2014-15 campaign he continued to impress in the Spanish top-flight, demonstrating positional flexibility under the orders of manager Unai Emery.

Making a total of 47 appearances in all competitions, Vidal began his time at the Sanchez-Pizjuan principally as a right-winger, but was also often used as a right-back, during the latter half of the season. In the end he proved a vital player for Sevilla, helping them achieve a 5th place finish in La Liga and to another successful campaign in the Europa League.

Now the remarkable footballing journey has come full circle, back to his native Catalunya and the realisation of a life-long dream. Although they once rejected him, Barcelona seem to have no doubts about what Vidal can offer them now, at 25-years-old. He's also currently training with the Spanish national team.

With so many clubs under his belt, so many rejections and obstacles in the pursuit of his footballing dream, perhaps the best way to conclude is with the comments of Vidal, during his presentation press conference at Barcelona.

When asked about having played for so many teams, Vidal simply replied: "In the end, every footballer has to keep looking for opportunities to progress. That's what's happened to me, but hopefully this will be my last team."

"I'm now living the dream, everything has happened so quickly. There's been a lot of hard work for this day to come."

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