By Nicolás Vergara
Alarm, shock, suspicion, outrage and then just sadness. That was the rollercoaster of emotions that many Chilenos experienced on hearing the news that Chile national player and Juventus star, Arturo Vidal, had crashed his £230,000 red Ferrari 458 whilst under the influence of alcohol.
What initially seemed only to be a serious car crash involving a high-end sports car, turned into a horror-thriller (which is still unfolding) when it emerged that Chilean hero Arturo ‘King Arthur’ Vidal was the driver; Vidal crashed drunk after having been to the Monticello casino during the free afternoon given by Chile manager Jorge Sampaoli.
Whether he was accompanied or not of course is not irrelevant, but in these cases we well know that when someone gets caught they have to pay; Even if, as in this case, the culprit is the leader and most important player (along with Alexis Sanchez) in the Chilean national football team. Arturo Vidal is guilty and got caught due to his lack of intelligence and above everything his lack of professionalism.
It’s not my philosophy to kick someone when they are down, or in good Chilean, not to make firewood from a fallen tree (hacer leña del árbol caído), but what annoys me most is that these top-notch professionals who play their football in Europe think they can do whatever they want when they’re back at home during the Copa America, even going crazy enough to drink drive, speeding at 160 kilometers per hour (100 mph). They know that in their clubs this is absolutely forbidden and their every action has a consequence, but here in Chile, where they know how much devotion we as fans have for them, they consider themselves beyond the law. Fortunately they are wrong and these things are not covered up here in Chile as they may have been in another South American country. Arturo Vidal is facing some civil and sports penalties.
Now Arturo Vidal has been released and forgiven by Jorge Sampaoli after a press conference where the Juventus midfielder burst into tears asking for redemption. Afterwards Sampaoli selected him for the line up against Bolivia, where even some of the crowd applauded him. Absolute pragmatism? Indeed, but this action sets a disastrous precedent for the upcoming generation and our current young guns. For the first time, I see the Copa America within our reach, but I don’t want to win it at any cost. Are we so thirsty for victory to trade values for success?
Uruguay is coming and Vidal is selected to battle against the current champions. It will be a beautiful match to watch, the ferocity of Uruguay against the good football of Chile. Vidal will be provoked over and over again by the Uruguayans, but this time he is the one in debt with the whole country and we are waiting for a replay.
A week ago the entire country was annoyed with him, and unexpectedly Sampaoli forgave him against the will of most of the Chileans. Well instead of tears, Vidal now has, in only ninety minutes, the chance to prove himself with a superb performance. It is up to him.