It wasn't that many months ago that Juventus and Bayern Munich were conducting transfer business over the phone, not preparing for a Champions League matchup against one another. There was plenty discussed between the two European heavyweights, with two players heading to Germany after they sported bianconero.
One of those players was, of course, Arturo Vidal, who rose to world-class status during his time with Juventus. His transfer to Bayern Munich this past summer surprised some, while confused others. At the end of the 'OFFICIALLY OFFICIAL' thread following the announcement of Vidal's move to Bayern going through, I had this to say:
Thanks for so many good times, Arturo. And may you be conveniently suspended if Juventus and Bayern Munch are to meet at some point in the Champions League next season or the years after. The last thing we need is for you to remind what we no longer have. That wouldn't sit well with us.
Well, Vidal will be available to play in Tuesday night's first leg against Juventus in Turin. And, as you can guess, the topic of Vidal making his first appearance at Juventus since the summer move back to Germany has been one he's been asked a good amount of the time. That involved a very good interview with the former Juve midfielder in Sunday's Gazzetta dello Sport, where Vidal went on to say the following:
"I return to Turin as an opponent, not an enemy. I don't know how I will be welcomed, but I hope the fans don't jeer. I am excited about this game and it'll be strange to see myself there with another jersey. If I score, then I won't celebrate. In four years I learned and won a great deal. I left because it was an opportunity for me and a good move for Juve, so we were all happy."
(Source: Football Italia)
There is nothing wrong with what he said above. Nothing at all. I would like to think that the Juventus Stadium crowd gives Vidal a warm welcome on Tuesday night considering all that he won and sacrificed during his four years at the club. The transfer probably stirred up some things that have since been said — like Beppe Marotta saying the player wanted a transfer, for one. But nobody can deny how crucial Vidal was to the team and how much of a beloved figure he was since signing from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer of 2011.
"I had no doubts the Bianconeri would come back into the Scudetto race. Even when they were in 12th position I knew they'd get back to the top, because the squad is so strong and never gives up. I watch Juve on TV. In Munich I spend my whole time at home or playing football. Juventus reached the Champions League Final last season, but are Bayern Munich the favourites? "I think we each have a 50-50 chance of qualification."
Based on how big of a part he played in Juventus getting back to being Juventus, there's nobody who knows that grinta better than Vidal. I really do hope that he gets that warm reception when he is announced over the PA system. He can enemy for 90 minutes on the field once the game begins, but he's a huge part of this Juve title run we hope has been continued come the start of next summer's transfer business getting underway.