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Player Focus: King Arturo Firing Juventus to Success

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Player Focus: King Arturo Firing Juventus to Success

 

At their pre-season retreat in the Aostan hills, it didn’t take onlookers long to recognise the coach leading the Juventus squad through a punishing series of drills. It was not Antonio Conte, nor even fitness chief Paolo Bertelli, but midfielder Arturo Vidal who was forcing his teammates to push harder and run further than they had before. Just two months earlier, in a late April derby against city rivals Torino, the Chilean had done much the same, driving his side forward against a determined opponent before breaking the game open with a well-struck shot from 25 yards out.

 

The game seemed to be headed for a draw before Vidal made that decisive intervention, and the celebration would further establish the strong bond he has forged with Conte. The player sprinted through the rain towards the bench with the coach meeting him. Both men leapt into the other’s arms, sharing an embrace that endured even as the rest of the team joined them. Since the two arrived at Juventus back in 2011, superlatives have rained down on the club, praising the coach for building an all-conquering team in his own image.

 

But if this Juventus is shaped to the never-say-die attitude that has been a hallmark of Conte’s career, it is Vidal who embodies that on the pitch, a living, breathing example of the Juventus spirit, which is so often the topic of discussion. Arriving from Leverkusen after an impressive final season, his role in the team was uncertain, images of Conte leading him by the hand through drills in his early days making front page news in Italy’s sports papers. He soon made his importance clear, forcing the coach to switch from his initial 4-2-4 formation and joining Claudio Marchisio and Pirlo in a well balanced trio that would sweep all before it.

 

Without the distraction of European competition, a side who had disappointed since their 2007 return to Serie A went through the entire 2011/12 campaign undefeated. Pirlo’s intelligent passing saw him lead Serie A with thirteen assists, but it was Vidal who underpinned the side, a 7.52 WhoScored rating marking him out as the division’s fifth best player. He had contributed seven goals and three assists in 33 league appearances; making 57 passes per game at a completion rate of 85.1%. He also made 2.2 interceptions and 5.4 tackles in each match, earning the nickname ‘Captain Hook’ for a knack of chasing down opponents and scooping the ball away cleanly.

 

His second season would be his breakthrough campaign, improving almost every facet of his game as his average rating rose to 7.74, putting him behind only Pirlo’s 7.8. He was Juve’s top scorer and assist maker with 10 and 8 respectively, adding a further 3 goals in the club’s return to Champions League action. As the best players always seem to, he raised his game in the elite competition, making more tackles than any other player, while no player who reached the knockout stages could better his 7.93 rating. 

 

Player Focus: King Arturo Firing Juventus to Success

 

Conspicuously absent from the Ballon d’Or shortlist, Vidal has again taken on more responsibility this season, typified by his performances in recent weeks. With Leonardo Bonucci and Angelo Ogbonna suspended for Juve’s visit to Livorno last month, an injury to Andrea Barzagli seemed to indicate a crisis as Conte had lost three of his best central defenders. Yet it proved to be no problem at all, Vidal slotting into the middle of the back three as if he had played there all his life. His accomplished display saw him make 5 tackles and 3 interceptions, while also controlling possession as he made an impressive 107 passes at a completion rate of 94%.

 

Just three days later, FC Copenhagen visited Turin for a Champions League game the Bianconeri simply had to win if they were to hold on to any hope of qualifying for the knockout stages. Back in his usual midfield role, Vidal gave his side the lead from the penalty spot, only to see former Juve man Olof Mellburg scramble an equaliser. Again, the Chilean would lead the way, converting another spot kick before sealing the first hat-trick of his career with a superbly taken headed goal. It saw Vidal join Omar Sivori, Paolo Rossi, Michael Laudrup, Alessandro Del Piero and Pippo Inzaghi as the only players in the club’s history to net a European Cup treble. He went home with the match ball tucked under one arm, where it would soon be joined by his new contract as he signed a deal that ties him to the club until 2017. 

 

That is a huge fillip for the Bianconeri, and further proof they have re-established themselves as one of Europe’s premier sides. President Andrea Agnelli may have declared Italy is “no longer the final destination but a transit destination,” for players, but Vidal seems content to call Turin home for the peak years of his career. The extension comes at a perfect time for Juventus, and underlines his importance, given that he has now made 92 Serie A and Champions League appearances for the team. 

 

His 30 goals in that time mark him out as the leading scorer in the Conte era, with a further 17 assists. A total of 455 tackles and 53.9 passes per game make for a staggering contribution from a player who is arguably the most complete midfielder in Europe. Even more striking is the importance of those goals, with no fewer than 12 coming with the score at 0-0, and a further ten with Juventus up 1-0 and looking to kill off opponents. With another seven earning the club a draw, his scoring has directly resulted in success, as he has scored at the most vital moments over the past three seasons, seeing Juve win 20 of the 27 games in which he found the net. 

 

It is clear that the player is worth every penny of his new deal, particularly given his initial transfer cost the Bianconeri just €10 million. That too now looks like incredible value for the man known in Turin, as King Arturo who, much like he did in pre-season, pushes this Juventus to be the best that it can possibly be.

 

Can Vidal inspire Juve to another Serie A title? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below

Comments (6)

 
  • vidal is the BEST

  • Vidal is the best CM in world football for me. At least top 3 anyway. He Is just so versatile. He can create, score, tackle and pass to a world class level. Him and Pirlo as a CM pairing in Juve! :o The best in world football. Plus Pogba available too is just sensational!

  • Arturo Vidal Ale... Arturo Vidal Ale... Arturo... Arturo... Arturo... Arturo... Arturo Vidal Ale... Tet..teeeettt...

  • stunning player, he should definately be in the ballon d'Or short list. the fact that he isnt is a shame

  • vidal is one of the best centre midfielder of the world, he can do everything

  • Vidal is favorite player from SeriaA, simply because of his unparalelled versatility. The only one that comes close to him is Javi Martinez. No wonder Madrid were scooping around for him.

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Luis Suarez Federico Peluso Jamel Saihi Gustavo Cabral Wakaso Daniele Gastaldello Danilo David Pizarro loris Nery Hugo Mallo Gotoku Sakai Andre Wisdom Andre Schürrle Mousa Dembélé Hamburger SV Rafael van der Vaart Rene Adler Sean Morrison Juan Jesus Frederik Sorensen Nicolas Isimat-Mirin Joel Matip Barry Bannan Nicky Shorey Luca Cigarini Andrea Consigli Jordan Ayew Ajaccio Carl Medjani Ricardo Faty Jerome Rothen Takashi Inui Takashi Usami Steven Pienaar Tolgay Arslan Loris Nery Wissam Ben Yeder Angelo Ogbonna Yoann Gouffran Marc Planus Ludovic Obraniak Emanuel Herrera Anthony Mounier Daniel Congre Pablo Hernandez Arda Gueida Fofana Arnold Mvuemba Steed Malbranque Nuri Sahin Kwadwo Asamoah Christian Maggio Henri Saivet Massadio Haidara Jean-Christophe Bahebeck Mladen Petric Real Betis Riccardo Montolivo Lucio Christophe Jallet Gokhan Inler Ilkay Gundogan Marvin Martin Steeve Elana Alain Traore Renaud Cohade Geoffrey Dernis Daniel Avles Patrick Helmes Raobin van Persie Pablo Armero Rondon Fabio Borini Patrick Herrmann Jonathan Scmid Kostantinos Fortounis Vincent Pajot Josua Guilavogui Idrissa Gana Gueye Ezequiel Munoz Nene Oliver Sorg Davide Brivio Sebastian Larsson Franceso Totti Tom Trybull M'Baye Niang Jean Daniel Akpa Akpro Matias Silvestre Euro 2012 Olof Mellberg Crisitano Ronaldo Alvaro Arbeloa Sebastian Boenisch Alan Dzagoev Andrey Arshavin Michael Krohn-Dehli Vaclav Pilar Theodor Gebre Selassie Gordon Schildenfeld Greece Miguel Veloso Mark Davies David Hoilett Santiago Garcia Marco Rignoni Vicente Guaita Michael Rensing Paul Robinson Fabien Audard Thomas Vermaelen Younes Belhanda Aurelien Chedjou Nancy St. Etienne Lukas Piszczek Dante Gijon Claudio Pizzaro Racing Santander Jonas Hannover Santander Claudio Pizarro Cesena David Jarolim Joe Cole Moussa Dembele Yakubu Javier Hernandez Leon Best Benat Kaiserslautern Christian Tiffert Paolo De Ceglie Federico Balzaretti Jeremey Menez Juan MGladbach Andreas Ivanschitz Jires Kembo-Ekoko Guillaume Hoarau Florent Malouda Steve Gohouri Kenwyne Jones Lecce Stephen Ireland Jakub Blaszcykowski Christian Fuchs Chievo Sloan Privat Abraham Guie Guie Louis Saha Martin Harnik German Bundesliga Grant Holt Ali Al-Habsi Ludovic Sane Aldo Angoula Younes Kaboul Brest Marcelo Stiliyan Petrov mathieu Valbuena Tono Ramirez Gianluca Buffon Emile Heskey John Utaka Markus Rosenborg Marko Arnautovic Jonathan Biabiany Andrea Caracciolo Evian Thonon Gaillard Mohammed Abdellaoue Dijon Anton Ferdinand Fabricio Coloccini Betting Eric Mouloungui Cedric Bakambu Gregory Pujol Eduardo Ribeiro Sebastien Larsson Nolan Roux Bradley Johnson Jamie O'Hara Wes Brown Jason Lowe Jose Enrique Anders Lindegaard Mark Schwarzer Cheik Tiote Alberto Aquilani Danny Murphy Martin O'Neill Modibo Maiga OGC Nice Perparim Hetemaj Alejandro Faurlin Leon Britton Antonio Nocerino Maximiliano Moralez Claudio Marchisio Marco Rigoni Simone Pepe Heidar Helguson Mark Gower Blackburn Emanuele Calaiò Zlatan Ibrahimović Germán Denis Jose Jurado Nicolas Anelka Edgar Barreto Alexandre Song Shaun Wright-Phillips Nicolas Maurice-Belay Jhon Jairo Culma Kevin Anin Sebastien Corchia Kevin Theophile-Catherine FC Cologne Julien Feret Jaroslav Plasil Yann Jouffre Tomas Rincon Kevin Davies Giampiero Pinzi Tamas Hajnal Camel Meriem Frederic Bulot Gokhan Tore AS Nancy Gabriel Torje Lynel Kitambala Florent Sinama-Pongolle Idriss Saadi Oscar Trejo Botelho Juanlu Axel Bellinghausen Gonzalo Castro Andrea Cossu Marcel Schafer Marco Hoger Timothy Chandler Bolton Wanderers Ivan Klasnic Paris St Germain Wolverhampton Wanderers Wigan Athletic Javi Varas Blackburn Rovers Stephan Lichtsteiner Anotnio Cassano Scott Sinclair Nenad Milijas Anatoliy Tymoshchuk Luis Gustavo Ruud van Nistelrooy Benoit Cheyrou Lucho Gonzalez League Analysis Walter Samuel Christian Chivu AS Roma Stephen Warnock Martin Kelly Gary Caldwell Karl Henry Kevin Doyle England National Football Team Javi Venta Vicente Iborra Sergio Ballesteros Bobby Zamora Jonas Gutierrez Dariusz Dudka Youssouf Hadji Christian Abbiati Alvaro Dominguez Phil Neville Senad Lulic Filip Daems Ezequiel Schelotto Victor Ruiz Jonathan Pereira Anthony Reveillere Santiago Gentiletti Cheikh Diabate Nicolas Spolli Luciano Fabian Monzon Mauricio Isla Ignazio Abate Titus Bramble Leroy Lita Christian Lell Philipp Wollscheid Milivoje Novakovic Tottenhman Hotspur Johan Cavalli Eliseu Serdar Tasci Ryan Babel Aleksandar Ignjovski Chechu Dorado Djamel Mesbah Arsenal Swansea Ashely Williams Piscu Eden Dzeko Emmerson Boyce Auxerre Phil Bardsley Jose Bosingwa Gretar Steinsson Mattia Cassani Jonathan Woodgate Germany National Football Team Gasperini Mauro Zarate Diego Forlan Estaban Cambiasso Juraj Kucka Marco Faraoni Joel Obi Benedikt Howedes Clemens Fritz Chris Lowe Daniel van Buyten Albania Yann M’Vila Baptiste Reynet Angelo Palombo Eric Tie Bi Chris Mavinga Aaron Hughes Chris Baird Raul Aly Cissokho Alessandro Del Piero France National Football Team Marc Tierney Bundelsiga Raul Bobadilla Loric Remy Jean Pascal Mignot Mainz 05 Schalke 04 Marcel Risse Steven Reid Danny Gabbidon Michal Kadlec Paulo Machado Ben Watson Spain National Football Team German National Football Team Bundeslgia Ricardo Carvalho Ivan Ramis Diego Colotto Sergio Fernandez Sere A Cesare Bovo Miguel Britos Bostjan Cesar Jose Angel Gabriel Heinze Chris Samba Charles N'Zogbia Yohan Demont Rod Fanni Rudy Mater Georgios Tzavellas Javier Pinola Dennis Aogo Daniel Schwaab Attacking Full-Backs Defensive Wingers 2010/11 Attacking Wingers Nicolas Douchez Under-21 Team of Season 2010-11 Maxi Rodriguez Scott Dann Crossing Wingers Under-21 Team of Season All-Round Midfielders Benoit Pedretti Rising Stars Kyle Walker Gaetano D'Agostino Centre Backs Paulo Da Silva Ivan Hernandez Eric Abidal Weligton Borja Ekiza Alassane Toure Stephane Grichting Jordan Loties Kader Mangane Adama Coulibaly Pedro Geromel Neven Subotic Christian Zapata Roger Johnson Stephan Lichsteiner Reto Ziegler David Vaughan Seb Larsson Asamoah Gyan Benoit Pedretti Anthony Mounier Simao Duda Alvaro Cejudo Xabi Prieto Alexsandar Kolarov Guiseppe Mascara Simone Bentivoglio Fernando Marques Gian Piero Gasperin Thomas Hitzlsperger Rafael Van der Vaart Theofanis Gekas Gerard Asamoah Youssef Al Arabi Lisandro Loric Remy Victor Hugo Montano Edison Cavani Sergio Pellissier David Di Michele Steward Downing Spain Under 21 Felipe Caicedo Pierre Webo Youssef El-Arabi Brown Ideye Mobido Maiga Chu-Young Robin Van Persie Kevin Gamerio Udinese. Alexis Sanchez Sami Allagui Frédéric Kanouté Renato Augusto Jonathan Pitropia Eljero Elia Ivo Llicevic Diego Perez Alvaro González Abel Hernandez David VIlla Marcel Schmelzer Danijel Pranjic Holger Badstuber Sven Bender Johan Djourou Darren Fletcher Carlos Kameni Thiago Silve Antonia Di Natale Cristiano Zapata Domenico Criscito Luis Jimenez Josep Ilicic Samuel Eto’o Alexis Thébaux Ludovic Sané Mamouda Sakho Boukary Dramé Daniel Alves Nikolay Mihaylov Charles Puyol Ji-Sung Park Edwin van der Sar Dani Alves John O’Shea Park Ji-Jung Gabi Fernandez Jonathan de Guzman Michael Owen Gary Taylor-Fletcher Ian Evatt DJ Campbell Charles N’Zogbia Wolverhampton Avram Grant Conor Sammon Wayne Bridge Rob Green Victor Obinna Mike Hanke Borussia Munchengladbach VfL Bochum Tomasz Kuszczak Martin Olsson Brett Emerton Steven N’Zonzi Muset Ozil Gianpaolo Pazzini Leonardo Seydou Keita Miguel Pallardo Ibrahim Afellay Valdo Pallardo Damien Perquis Luka Modrid David SIlva Benoit Assou-Ekotto Vedran Corluka Saloman Kalou Clarence Seedorf Matteo Brighi Fabio Simplicio Rodrigo Taddei Mark Van Bommel Gennaro Gattuso Kevin Prince-Boateng Nicolas Burdisso Elkin Soto Pep Gaurdiola Lassana Diarra Antonio da Silva Robert Mak Heurelho Gomes Andre Marriner Pinto Alavro Arbeloa Alexander Hleb

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