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‘Warrior’ Vidal joins Inter to continue Barcelona exodus

Inter have completed a deal to sign Arturo Vidal from Barcelona for 1 million euros ($1.17 million), the clubs announced on Tuesday.

“Barcelona and Inter Milan have reached an agreement for the transfer of the player Arturo Vidal,” Barca said in a statement. 

“The Italian team will pay FC Barcelona 1 million euros in variables.”

After joining in 2018, Vidal played 96 games for the Catalans and scored 11 goals, helping them win La Liga in his first year in Spain.

But the 33-year-old was seen as expendable by the club after their dreadful end to last season, with Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu admitting players would have to leave in this transfer window before new ones come in.

Ivan Rakitic has already rejoined Sevilla while Nelson Semedo is reportedly close to completing a move to Wolves. Luis Suarez is also expected to leave.

Vidal was not always seen as a natural fit at Camp Nou, his combative, direct style going against the more possession-based characteristics the club insists is part of its DNA.

Yet Vidal has been one of the team’s most effective and consistent performers and was used regularly as a starter by both Ernesto Valverde and then Quique Setien, with both coaches also quick to turn to him on the bench in times of need.

His departure will be keenly felt by Lionel Messi, with whom he was close. The pair formed a clique in the dressing room that included Suarez, whose exit would leave Messi as the only one left.

Messi and Suarez shared farewell messages for Vidal on social media.

“I only knew from you from playing against you and you always seemed like phenomenon,” wrote Messi on Instagram. 

“But then I was lucky enough to get to know you personally and you surprised me even more. We shared a lot in your two years and you stood out a lot. The dressing room will miss you, Arturo.” 

Suarez wrote: “Having you as a rival was unbearable because of how great you are as a player but having you as a teammate and friend, and knowing you as a person is even greater. A pleasure to have played with a star like you.”

Vidal will be reunited with Antonio Conte at Inter, the coach he played for at Juventus between 2011 and 2015, before joining Bayern Munich and then Barca.

Inter described the Chilean midfielder as a “warrior”. “From today, Vidal will be on the front line for the Nerazzurri, with the same objectives as ever:  fighting, giving it his all, and winning,” the Italian club added.

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