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Celtic Vs. Juventus | Key Players | Arturo Vidal
As Celtic gear up to play Italian giants Juventus in the last 16 of the Champions League, Marek Robert profiles one of the key players from the tie, Arturo Vidal.
Name: Arturo Vidal
Current club: Juventus
Position: Central midfielder
Age: 25 years old
Nickname: Il Guerriero (The Warrior)
Chilean International Arturo Vidal looks set to face Celtic in the upcoming Champions League last 16 match on Tuesday night in Glasgow. The midfielder will be one of Juventus’ key players in their quest for a first Champions League title since defeating Ajax in the 95/96 final. Vidal, a versatile box-to-box midfielder, has blossomed into one the most complete and consistant midfielders in world football. Combining an incredible engine with work-rate and excellent technical ability, Vidal is never scared to go in for a tough challenge. With a terrific eye for goal, he always seems to put in the big performances in key games and has scored some very important goals throughout his career. Hopefully those ”big games” won’t be against Neil Lennon and Celtic, as limiting his influence over the 2 legs could be the key to beating Juventus.
Vidal’s senior career began back in Chile in 2006 when he made his debut for Colo Colo against rivals Universidad de Chile. He was a key member of the team that made it to the final of the Copa Sudamericana (the South American UEFA Cup), scoring 3 goals in the process. Fantastic performances for Colo Colo lead to Bayer Leverkusen showing interest in the player as Rudi Völler, Bayer’s Director Of Football, personally flew to Chile in order to secure Il Guerriero’s signature. In the Summer of 2007, Bayer agreed a deal worth €5 Million to bring the young Chilean to the BayArena. Vidal’s impressive performances over the next few seasons for Leverkusen alerted a number of top clubs who were interested in signing him.
Vidal finally made the move to Juventus in 2011 for a fee around €11 Million, an absolute bargain for the ability he posseses. Since his move to the Old Lady, he has seemingly reached the peak of his powers as a player, becoming a key figure in the Juventus squad and arguably just as important as the great Pirlo himself. Vidal’s goal-scoring record is particularly impressive for a midfielder, with an excellent 12 goals in 51 competitive appearances for the Bianconeri. He’s quickly become a fan favourite amongst the Juve supporters and has been praised all over Italy for his consistent all round displays.
Vidal was the driving force behind the Old Lady’s first official Scudetto in 9 years, with his form continuing into this season with 9 goals and 8 assists in all competitions. Whenever Vidal has been off form, injured or suspended, Juventus have struggled which is more evidence of how important he is to the team.
When Celtic face Juventus on Tuesday, most of the pre-match emphasis and analysis will be on the legendary Andrea Pirlo. However, Neil Lennon will need to address the Chilean’s influence in the Italian side. Vidal is like the beating heart of the Juventus midfield, with his energy and legwork allowing Andrea Pirlo more time and space on the ball to pick out the perfect pass for the strikers. Lennon will need Victor Wanyama, and the rest of the Celtic midfield, to stop Vidal’s penetrative runs and he may use the Kenyan’s sheer physical presence in order to pressurise and limit Il Guerriero’s influence on the game.
Celtic would be wise to exploit one of the Chilean’s main weakness’…his poor disciplinary record. In one and a half seasons in Italy, he has received 21 yellow cards and is no stranger to red for club or country either. The midfielder can be ill tempered and rash in the challenge at times, and an early yellow card would certainly make Vidal think twice about going into any tough challenges. Thus losing a large part of his game, his sheer energy and commitment to a tackle.
For me Arturo Vidal is one of those players, like Juan Roman Riquelme, who is criminally underrated. The type of player that doesn’t get the plaudits lavished on Xavi or Gerrard or even Bastian Schweinsteiger, but it’s hard to find a more complete midfielder than Vidal. Who knows, with Juventus resurgence in the last few years maybe he will finally get the recognition he deserves.
Lets just hope its’ not in this years Champions League against Celtic.