When, during his tenure as Juventus coach, Antonio Conte was asked who he would take with him into battle, he gave Arturo Vidal’s name without a moment’s hesitation.
A born fighter, Vidal is also the ultimate midfielder, a player who can score goals, create them and win the ball back, all while drawing fouls and committing a few himself.
He began his career in defence, distinguishing himself as both a left- and right-sided centre half in Claudio Borghi’s entertaining Colo Colo team, the only Chilean club Vidal has played for to date.
Nelson Acosta made him an international at the age of 19, in a friendly against Venezuela in early 2007, a year in which he starred in the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada, a tournament that marked the emergence of Chile’s “golden generation”.
His many qualities earned him a move to Bayer Leverkusen, the first port of call on a tour of Europe that has seen him shine with continental powerhouses Juventus and Bayern Munich.
One of the first names on Marcelo Bielsa’s Roja teamsheet, Vidal was an integral part of the Chile side that reached the country’s first FIFA World Cup™ in 12 years at South Africa 2010, and of the team that Jorge Sampaoli took to the Round of 16 at Brazil 2014.
A vital cog once more in Sampaoli’s Copa America-winning team in 2015 and the side that lifted the 2016 Copa America Centenario under Juan Pizzi, Rey Arturo is an unquestioned presence in the Chile starting line-up.