Juventus’ 31st Scudetto title was clearly a collective effort and, while the plaudits should be shared equally among all the players, Arturo Vidal would undoubtedly be the man singled out if the trophy had to be attributed to one person.
The midfielder finished the season as Juve’s leading marksman in front of goal, netting 15 times overall, ten of which came in the championship. This included a run of five goals in four consecutive games, each more decisive than the last: a double against Lazio and then one against each of Milan, Torino and Palermo. In fact, his converted penalty against the Sicilians was fittingly the one which mathematically secured back-to-back Serie A crowns.
Lauding his goalscoring exploits is an absolute must, but it would be a crime to forget his numerous contributions outside the penalty area. First and foremost, he was one of the busiest men in Antonio Conte’s squad, registering 45 overall appearances, including 2,587 minutes on the field from 31 championship games.
The Chilean’s overall tally of 1,125 passes attempted in the opposition half at a success rate of 84.4% puts him second in terms of accuracy in the whole of Serie A (only counting players with over 1,000 passes). Fiorentina’s Borja Valero (86.1%) sits top of the pack, while Andrea Pirlo is a close third (83.9%).
Vidal was a prominent figure in the final third, chalking up 24 shots on target (fourth in the squad) and also proving to be the club’s most prolific provider, contributing eight assists over the course of the campaign.
The 26-year-old also created 63 chances, played 84 passes inside the opposition penalty area and delivered 38 crosses from the flanks.
Up to this point, it may seem as though we are talking about a striker or an attacking midfielder, but Arturo is a phenomenon because he doesn’t just attack with the quality of a gifted forward but also defends as if his life depends on it.
The defensive determination he demonstrates in each and every match is clear for all to see and is backed up by various statistics. With 151 tackles to his name this season, Vidal has registered almost double that of second placed Pirlo on 82. It is therefore unsurprising that the Chilean’s personal foul tally of 51 is the highest at the club.
To sum up, wherever the ball is on the pitch, sooner or later, Vidal will be there. If the opposition have it, he’ll win possession back in a flash and if Juve have it, he’ll put it in the back of the net or to the feet of a team-mate.
He is a warrior, a ruthless finisher, a relentless bulldog and a force of nature…to summarise in two words, Arturo Vidal.