When Arturo Vidal arrived at Juventus after his move from Bayer Leverkusen, some questioned why Beppe Marotta and the rest of the Juve management would shell out a good chunk of change for a player who had one year left on his contract. Since then, Vidal has basically shut just about every person who doubted the move up with his play.
Ever since Vidal stepped into Antonio Conte's starting lineup, he hasn't left. And along with that, every year he has been at Juventus, he's not only become more and more important to the squad, but also become better and better as a player. That €10.5 million price tag Juventus paid Leverkusen for Vidal in the summer of 2011? That looks like peanuts right now for a player every other big club in Europe wishes they had patrolling their midfield.
It might not be an Andrea Barzagli or Andrea Pirlo kind of bargain, but it's up there becaus as the years go by, Vidal continues to do exactly what he's done since putting on a Juventus jersey.
Vidal's style is ruthless. You don't get the 'El Guerrero' nickname just by chance. But because he is so good at what he does, he's not limited to being a defensive midfielder that some thought he was when he first arrived. He scores goals, he is almost always atop the tackle leaderboard at the end of every game. He's Arturo Vidal, a really good footballer who continues to get better.
Caps: 53, Goals: 8
Service for Chile: If not for the presence of a certain Alexis Sánchez in the attack, Vidal would be the easy choice for Chile's best and most important player. And much in the same fashion as his Juventus career, as the years have gone by, Vidal's importance for his country has gotten bigger and bigger. Along with Sánchez, Vidal is one of the players extended to lead this generation of Chilean footballers to success on the international level.
What makes him interesting: In short, it's a lot of things. The racking up of tackles, the constant running up and down the field for 90-plus minutes, the all-around awesomeness. Arturo Vidal is easily one of the most complete midfielders in the world today. He can defend, he can score goals, he can battle on the field with the best of them. There aren't many things the 27-year-old Vidal can't do. And for people who haven't watched much of Juventus the past three seasons, the World Cup will likely be one of their first chances to see Vidal do Vidal things on the big stage.
What to expect in Brazil: Of all the Juventus players heading to the World Cup, you probably wouldn't have put some kind of worry or doubt around Vidal when the season began. But because of the knee surgery Vidal underwent just before Juve's season came to an end, there a level of uncertainty — to what extent you can decide on your own — just how his knee will respond to the recent surgery. If Vidal is 100 percent, then there's no reason to worry. But if Vidal shows signs of still working his way back to full match fit. everybody's Twitter feeds will be screaming at both the Juventus and Chile doctors for letting him come back so soon. That's just reality.
Regardless of how Vidal plays coming off plays, Chile have quite the task in the group stages with Spain and the Netherlands — their second and third games, respectively. Obviously having Vidal be the Vidal Juventus tifo have seen the past three years will be a huge boost for Chile's chances. And while some are tipping Chile to be one of the sleeper teams in Brazil, more than having Vidal be Vidal will have to go right if they want to make it out of Group B and into the knockout stages.