Juventus
    07.02.2014 19:40 - in: The team S

    Vidal: "Juve, the best thing to ever happen to me"

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    Speaking exclusively to BBC World Football, the Chilean midfielder discusses his love for the black and white stripes, Chile’s World Cup aspirations and the driving force behind his decision to pursue a career in professional football

    Arturo Vidal believes the history, glory and passion associated with Juventus Football Club make the black and white stripes the perfect fit for him.

    Since swapping the Bundesliga for Serie A in 2011, the midfielder has amassed back-to-back Scudetto and Super Cup triumphs and become a global sensation.

    Now in his third season in Turin, Vidal spoke of the “wonderful” feeling he still experiences when pulling on the famous shirt and running out in front of the club’s loyal following.

    Speaking in an exclusive interview with BBC World Football following Stephan Lichtsteiner's appearance on last week's show, the 26-year-old began: “Wearing the Juventus shirt is the most wonderful thing that’s ever happened to me. You can feel the history that goes with the club and the passion of the fans is incredible. When you cross the white line, you realise what’s at stake and what’s expected from you."

    While Italian fans who watch Vidal week in week out have become accustomed to his consistent stellar performances, those residing overseas are also nodding their heads with approval.

    Evidence of his ever-rising stock on a worldwide scale came in the form of an eleventh-placed ranking in last season’s Bloomberg’s Sports List, which also heralded him as the world’s finest in his position.

    “If that’s really the case, then I’m very happy. I’ve worked really hard to be in the position those lists put me in. I feel I’m an important player in a role which requires you to attack and defend. However, it must be said that I’ve also got very good team-mates who help me play well in my role.”

    Reaching the peak of his profession has involved plenty of hard work and determination.

    Spurred on by the motivation of improving his family’s life following a “tough” upbringing in Chile, Vidal worked tirelessly to hone his skills and turn a boyhood dream into a genuine reality.

    “It was difficult start to life. My family life was a bit complicated because of my mother’s situation. Money was scarce so it was tough. But when I got into football things slowly started to get better.

    “Football was something I really wanted. I realised it could improve our life as a family but it was also a dream. As a kid I loved playing football and I always thought I wanted to become a professional.

    “My uncle, Victor Hugo, was around when I was playing as a kid because we didn’t have enough food to eat at home. He gave me a helping hand and then took me to Colo Colo and I started playing there.

    “I’m still in touch with him to this day because of everything he did for me. He bought food for me so I would be physically stronger and grow – I was very thin.”

    A string of impressive displays for the Santiago-based outfit soon saw the all-action midfielder courted by a host of European clubs.

    One of these, Bayer Leverkusen, swooped to bring a 20-year-old Vidal over to Germany in the summer of 2007, a move he regards as crucial for his overall development as a player.

    “It was initially a big shock for me. In Chile the football is very different, it’s a lot more easy-going and not so physical. It was impossible to compare that to what it was like in Germany. The players were so much bigger and faster.

    “Germany has very good technical players, so I found it tough for the first few weeks. And then there was the language, the biggest challenge I ever had in Germany - but I quickly adapted.”

    Since then, Vidal has gone on to establish himself as one of the finest talents on the planet, earning recognition not just at club level but also with his native Chile.

    And after winning plenty of admirers for their plucky performances in World Cup 2010, Vidal says the team can harbour ambitions of an even stronger showing this time around.      

    “The side that’s going to Brazil is twice as strong and intense as the one that lined up in the last World Cup. I think all the players from 2010 have matured a lot and we’re a better team that plays better football.

    “We know we have to at least beat one of the reigning champions (Spain) and runners-up (Holland). But we’ll go out to win every game we play.”

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