Barcelona, June 8 (IANS) Newly crowned European Champions League winners FC Barcelona have signed Sevilla defender Alex Vidal on a five-year contract.
The former Mallorca and Almeria player, who has cost around 17 million euros, on Sunday became the first summer signing for the La Liga champions, reports Xinhua.
However, he will not be able to play for them until January 2016 due to the current FIFA ban on inscribing new players imposed on the club as the result of irregularities regarding the signing of foreign players for the Barcelona youth system.
The 25-year-old, who is from the Catalan region of Spain, has enjoyed a breakthrough season with Sevilla, playing a major role as the club finished fifth in the La Liga and retained the Europa League under the guidance of Unai Emery.
He has just won his debut call up into the Spain squad for the friendly matches against Costa Rica and the Euro 2016 qualifying game against Belarus.
With Dani Alves looking likely to leave Barcelona at the end of the month after failing to reach agreement on a new deal, Barcelona have moved to sign a long-term replacement. It is not certain whether they will loan him to a different club until they are able to inscribe him into their squad in January or whether Vidal will have to settle for spending the intervening months merely training with his new companions.
Meanwhile Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta has been forced to pull out of the Spain squad as a result of his muscle problems. Iniesta, who was voted man-of-the-match as Barcelona won the Champions League on Saturday night, has been struggling with his fitness for several weeks.