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Getting to Know: Barcelona’s Arturo Vidal

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Taking a look into Vidal’s career as a football player.

ESP: FC Barcelona - Real Sociedad - La Liga Photo by Pressinphoto/Icon Sport via Getty Images

Full name: Arturo Erasmo Vidal Pardo
Squad No: 22
Position: Midfielder
Date of birth: 22 May 1987
Place of birth: Santiago, Chile
Height: 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Weight: 75 kg (165 lbs)

Club career

Born in the San Joaquin area of Santiago, Chile, Arturo Vidal made a promise at a young age, to get his mother out of a small wooden home they lived in. Vidal kept his promise, and his journey to do so started about an hour west of Santiago, in the town of Melipilla, where a young Arturo first started playing organized football. Later he joined the youth ranks of his hometown club Colo-Colo, where he quickly made a name for himself as his talent and hard work led to his professional debut in 2006 – in the Final of the Apertura no less.

His role increased in the next campaign and with increased playing time he caught the attention of numerous scouts from European clubs. With Vidal as the workhorse, Colo-Colo won the next two league championships, but in the summer of 2007 he left Chile, after 56 games played and 5 goals scored for his local club.

Vidal joined Bundesliga’s Bayer Leverkusen for a reported fee of €5.2 million. The Chilean made his first appearance in the Bundesliga on 19 August 2007 in an away loss against Hamburger. Playing a rotational player role in his first season in Europe, Vidal’s growth continued – and as his role increased over the years, so did his reputation as a hard working player with a lot of potential. It all came together for him in his last year with Bayer when he scored thirteen and assisted on another ten, shooting him to the top of many top clubs’ wish lists. After four years in Germany, after 144 games, 21 goals and another 21 assists, Vidal left for Italy to join Juventus in a transfer worth €12.5 million.

The midfielder hit the ground running, making his debut in the season opener on 11 September 2011 against Parma. Antonio Conte’s management style suited Vidal’s play and the Chilean thrived. Vidal had never been regarded the most technically gifted player, but his hard-nosed style quickly made him a key player, and started a massively impressive run of eight consecutive league titles, spanning three countries and three clubs. Vidal seemingly improved every season in Italy, but his last season could’ve been regarded as a slight step back. Unlike in the early years of his Juventus career, Vidal then started playing in a more advanced role, where his goal totals dropped and he wasn’t as creative anymore as he was from a deeper position. Therefore it didn’t come as a big surprise that he was shipped out after 171 games played, 48 goals scored and 25 assists.

On July 28, 2015, in a €37.5 million transfer, he went back to Germany and joined Bayern Munich, who was also one of the teams that wanted Vidal in 2011 when he joined Juventus instead. Just four days later he made his Bayern debut, a penalty shootout win in the Supercup in which he scored one of the penalties. Back in Germany, Vidal started playing more in the heart of the midfield again, which led to an uptick in production in his first season. The next two seasons were a mixed bag, mostly due to some minor injuries in 16/17 and a knee injury that ended his last season with Bayern prematurely, needing a surgery to fix to the problem. With April’s season ending injury, Vidal’s Bayern account ended with 124 appearances, 22 goals and 18 assists to go with a handful of trophies.

With the knee injury a non-issue, Barcelona came calling and Vidal jumped at the chance. He moved to Catalonia for a reported fee of €18 million, adding another midfielder into an already crowded field, but the Chilean quickly carved out a role for himself, becoming a bit of a jack of all trades. Chipping in with the occasional crucial goal, Vidal pretty much started playing all over the field, from midfield to attack, from the left side to the right. Vidal’s talent range might not fit many of the aforementioned roles, which led to mixed results – but whether that’s due to Vidal’s shortcomings or managerial shortcomings is a question for a different day. Regardless, one cannot say he doesn’t always give his all, and he’s done so in 84 games in which he’s found the back of the net nine times and created ten goals.

International career

Vidal introduced himself to the international stage at the U-20 World Championship in 2007, a campaign Chile finished in 3rd place. Just one month after his U-20 debut, he featured for the first time for the senior side – in a win against Venezuela on 7 February 2007. Since then, he’s become one of Chile’s key players, always playing at a high level for his country. In 13 years Vidal made 115 appearances in La Roja colors, scoring 28 goals, though he assisted on only nine goals.

Profile

Vidal is not your typical Barcelona midfielder, as he does not have brilliant technique, or an arsenal full of tricks to give his team the upper hand. What he does have is endless work rate, is defensively sounds with an eye for finding the back of the net. Vidal seemingly always finds a way to make a mark in the game, be it with a good cross, hard tackle, or a timely deep run to cause havoc in the opposing defense. Another asset of Vidal’s game is his positional versatility as he has played pretty much all over the pitch except in goal.

Honors

Colo-Colo

· Primera Divisón de Chile (3): 2006-A, 2006-C, 2007-A

Juventus

· Serie A (4): 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15

· Coppa Italia (1): 2014-15

· Supercoppa Italiana (2): 2012, 2013

Bayern Munich

· Bundesliga (3): 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18

· DFB-Pokal (1): 2015-16

· DFL-Supercup: 2016, 2017

Barcelona

· La Liga (1): 2018-19

· Supercopa de España (1): 2018

Chile

· Copa América (2): 2015, 2016

Individual

· Bundesliga Team of the Season (2): 2010-11, 2015-16

· Serie A Team of the Year (2): 2012-13, 2013-14

· Copa América Team of the Tournament (3): 2015, 2016, 2019

Contract Status

After the conclusion of this season, whenever that may be, Vidal will have only one year left on his contract, which includes a €300 million buy-out clause, signaling his Barcelona future might be in jeopardy.