37. Arturo Vidal
Since his arrival to Europe, Arturo Vidal has evolved to become one of the best midfielders in the world. His great defensive and offensive work makes him a multi-dimensional player in midfield.
“He is experienced and his body language is top notch. He can play in every position in midfield, as he has a ton of space to run in,” Pep Guardiola said when he coached Vidal at Bayern Munich.
Vidal is a one-man counter machine, he can interrupt a rival attack and instantaneously start a counterattack. His work-rate and perseverance are key aspects in his style of play, allowing him to occupy multiple areas in midfield.
Season after season, Arturo Vidal demonstrates that he is constantly improving: he is focused on maintaining high performances for club and country, improving goal-scoring records, constantly supporting offense and defense, maintaining high pressure, among other qualities. However, one must also highlight Vidal’s decision making: the midfielder is smartest when it comes to passing and aiding build-up, be it leading or accompanying it.
Taking numbers into account, his 2016/17 Champions League performances saw him amass a 91% passing accuracy, 86.5 km of distance covered, 46 interceptions, 596 successful passes (74.75 per game) and 3 goals in 8 games (714 minutes), not different from his stats in Bundesliga and Chile.
Mental fortitude is another aspect that sets Vidal aside from the rest and plays a large role in his character. Conviction, achieving goals, trying to constantly improve and believing in his ability are all part of his philosophy.
“My personality on the field is totally different from mine off of it. I am a happy person, I get along well with everyone,” Vidal said. “On the pitch it changes because I have to defend my team colors. If I am a representative of Chilean football it is difficult. I seem like most other players, but what separates me from the rest is my mentality. I treat others with respect, but I always have complete faith in my abilities.”
Not only is Vidal a world class player, but he’s a legend of the game, an icon who has reinvigorated his country, and in many ways, a national hero.
“I hope that this inferiority complex has disappeared from Chile for not having won anything,” Vidal said. “I hope the new generation of Chilean players can grow with us and adopt that mentality to surpass our achievements. It’s not that they should compare themselves with us, but that they should have our same mentality, to go the World Cup and battle against teams like Germany or Argentina.”
Arturo Vidal gives the sensation that, despite being a complete footballer who is superb in both offensive and defensive facets of the game, he can still improve. Being coached by Marcelo Bielsa, Pep Guardiola, and Carlo Ancelotti, among others, has allowed him to learn different concepts and strategies in football, which has been crucial in his development. With his versatility, his footballing education, and everything else, he is one of the best midfielders in the world.
By: Nico Apraiz/@nicoapraiz, translated by Zach Lowy, @ZCalcio