- 5'10" (1.78m)
- 165 lbs (75 kg)
- May 22, 1987
Chile international Arturo Vidal has emerged as one of the finest box-to-box midfielders in the world with his combative approach, composure on the ball and clinical edge in front of goal. Nicknamed Il Guerriero (The Warrior) by Juventus supporters, Vidal has become one of the first names on the teamsheet for both club and country. And after claiming a third successive Scudetto with Juve in 2013-14, all the attention will be turned towards the mohawked star as Chile seek to make it past the World Cup round of 16 for the first time since 1962.
His rise to prominence began as a youth at the famed Colo-Colo academy, where he won three consecutive championships and finished as a runner-up in the 2006 Copa Sudamericana. An impressive showing at the Under-20 World Cup in 2007 -- where Chile were knocked out in the semifinals by eventual winners Argentina -- enticed Bayer Leverkusen director of football Rudi Voeller to part with an estimated eight million euros, making Vidal the most expensive Chilean export.
Vidal became an ever-present in the Leverkusen line-up and his versatility proved indispensable to the Bundesliga outfit as he featured in central midfield, right back, defensive midfield, left midfield and behind the striker. Despite mainly figuring in front of the back four, Vidal managed to accumulate ten goals and 11 assists in the 2010-11 league season, earning him a spot in the Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund-dominated Team of the Year.
Under the stewardship of Marcelo Bielsa and then Jorge Sampaoli, Vidal also emerged as one of the Chile national team's most important players and despite often being deployed in a slightly more defensive role, Vidal's impact is felt all over the pitch. His energetic midfield displays helped La Roja to finish only one point behind table-toppers Brazil in 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying, while he scored five goals in 11 appearances en route to Chile's successful 2014 World Cup qualification.
While Andrea Pirlo is often heralded as the jewel in Juventus'crown, Vidal is the team's armour -- his power and tenacity allows the veteran midfielder the protection he requires to sit deep and pick his passes.
In his first season in Italy, Vidal's defensive resilience helped Juventus to win the league, as they conceded a meagre 20 goals in 38 games, while his attacking qualities shone through the following campaign as he finished the 2012-13 season as the Bianconeri's highest goalscorer with 15 goals, while also leading the assist charts with 12 in all competitions.
It was fitting that as the 2012-13 Serie A campaign drew to a close, it was Vidal who held his nerve to net the crucial spot-kick against Palermo to retain the Scudetto for Juventus. No player epitomised the Old Lady's cool, yet aggressive, determination to succeed like Vidal and his goals against Lazio, Milan and Torino in the run-in almost single-handedly fought off the challenge from Napoli.
Il Guerriero repeated the trick in 2013-14 as Juve claimed a hat trick of Serie A titles and he has spoken boldly of Chile's inspirations to win the 2014 World Cup. If he continues to produce the form which has seen him establish himself as one of the world's leading central midfielders, the South Americans could indeed prove a tough match for any nation.
Strengths: Epitomises the ideal box-to-box midfielder with his crunching tackling, dynamic energy and effectiveness in the final third. He has a knack for scoring important goals and thrives on the big occasion.
Weaknesses: His temper can sometimes be known to get the better of him although he has shown recent improvements on a previously problematic disciplinary record.
Career High: Named in the 2010-11 Bundesliga Team of the Season for Bayer Leverkusen and in the 2012-13 Serie A Team of the Season for Juventus.
Career Low: Suffered heavy criticism from the Chilean press after he was sent off in successive international matches against Venezuela and Serbia in November 2012.
Quotes: "If [Gareth] Bale is worth 100 million Euros, Vidal is also worth that figure," Juventus general director Giuseppe Marotta emphasises the importance of the Chilean star.
Trivia: It was Vidal's uncle who first spotted Arturo's potential and he was a major influence in helping his nephew to pursue a career in football.
|Chile||A - Brazil||Jun 28, 2014||WC||L (3) 1-(2) 1||Sub-Off 86.0 min||0||0||0||0||2||6||0||0|
|Chile||A - Netherlands||Jun 23, 2014||WC||L 2-0||Unused Substitute|
|Chile||A - Spain||Jun 18, 2014||WC||W 0-2||Sub-Off 87.0 min||0||0||0||0||5||2||1||0|
|Chile||H - Australia||Jun 13, 2014||WC||W 3-1||Sub-Off 59.0 min||0||0||1||0||1||1||0||0|