Arturo Vidal has lived up to his billing as one of the world's best midfielders in the colours of Bundesliga record champions Bayern Munich.
bundesliga.com lays bare ten facts about 'King Arturo', the warrior-like Chilean midfielder who has reigned supreme in the middle of the park for Bayern since 2015.1) 'We're gonna need a bigger birthday cake'
There must be a sprinkling of stardust about 22 May. Composer Richard Wagner, Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Smiths front man Morrissey and former European Footballer of the Year George Best all came into this world on the same day of the year as Vidal. Born in the Santiago suburb of San Joaquin, Arturo Erasmo — his dad's name — Vidal Pardo arrived in 1987 within hours of former tennis world number one Novak Djokovic on the opposite side of the Atlantic Ocean.
Watch: Arturo Vidal's roots - from Santiago's backstreets to the Bundesliga2) Making of the Warrior
In an X-files-esque twist, Victor Hugo died on 22 May (in 1885 if you're interested), and it was an uncle by the same name as the world-famous French author who first thought young Arturo could make a mark in the game.
After featuring in the colours of Rodelindo Roman in his local neighbourhood, Vidal joined Santiago icons Colo Colo aged 12. Under youth coach Hugo Gonzales, he flourished, eventually helping the side win three successive championships. And why did he start playing the game? "I liked football and wanted to help my family."3) 'Run, Arturo, run!' Arturo Vidal can always be counted on to get Bayern Munich moving. © imago
Those closest to him, notably his mother, Jacqueline, whose face he has tattooed on his right arm, helped forge the unflinching character that has taken Vidal to the top of the world game.
"She always told me to be consistent in everything I do, and fight for what I want. Always," said Vidal, whose refusal to know when he is beaten makes him an opponent's worst nightmare. "Training or match, it doesn't make a difference: I run and want to win. It's the same in life."
That unending search for success has earned him the nickname 'el Guerrero', the Warrior. "I like it. It describes my style of play and my character well," said Vidal, who is probably happy no-one in Europe stuck with his first nickname, the less intimidating 'Celia Punk' in honour of the famous Cuban singer Celia Cruz.4) Rudi awakening Current Bayern Munich boss Jupp Heynckes first got to know Vidal in Leverkusen. © imago / Ulmer
"That it was the opportunity of a lifetime," was what Vidal thought to himself when Leverkusen offered him the chance to join the Bundesliga shortly after he had shone at the 2007 Under-20 World Cup in a side also featuring Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez and Besiktas man Gary Medel.
Chile had finished third in Canada, but the deal for the South American nation's then-most expensive football export had been "sorted out before" the tournament, according to Vidal himself.
And why Leverkusen? The host of other clubs missed out — and now's the time to kick yourselves — for the price of a trans-Atlantic flight and the personal touch. "I chose Leverkusen after [sporting director] Rudi Völler came to Chile in the spring of 2007," revealed Vidal.
Watch: Vidal on Bayern's Matchday 14 win over Hannover5) Sink or swim
He dived full length into his new life, though even he struggled at first to keep his head above water on the banks of the Rhine.
"It was very hard, at 19. The language, the cold, the people, everything in Germany was different to home. My agent stayed for two months, then I was on my own."
Fortunately, he adapted quicker to the Bundesliga than beer and bratwurst after then-Leverkusen boss Michael Skibbe had handed him his debut. His last season with Die Werkself, the 2010/11 campaign, was his best as his side finished league runners-up and he registered 11 assists, the second-best tally of any Bundesliga player that term.
Sarai il numero 1 sempre fratello!!comment(s), give your comment