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Bayer old boy Arturo

Vidal: The friendship is on hold on Saturday

Arturo Vidal kept his fingers crossed for Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League qualifying play-offs on Wednesday evening, but the Chilean will certainly not shirk any challenges against his former club on Saturday evening. “I clearly say no,” the 28-year-old declared before the reunion at the Allianz Arena on Saturday (18.30 CET). “On the pitch we're opponents. I'll play as usual. I'll give everything I can, as always. The friendship will be put on hold.”

Eight years ago Vidal left his Chilean home club Colo-Colo for Leverkusen. The midfielder has “many fond memories” of his first European club, even if he follows them from a certain distance by now. He played for Bayer in 144 fixtures from 2007 to 2011, scoring 21 goals. Now he will be up against Leverkusen for the first time.

Respectful goal celebration

“Of course it will be a special match for me. I'm very thankful to Bayer for having given me the opportunity to go to Europe,” Vidal said two days before the Bundesliga’s top match, “but now I play for FC Bayern and will give everything I have to win.”

Vidal cautioned against the aggressive pressing practised by his ex-club, trusting them to “compete for the title. We'll have to be very careful and focused right from the beginning.” Vidal himself will not lack motivation: it is a matter of honour to play against his former club, just like “very respectful behaviour” in the case of a goal celebration. “But I'd be glad,” stressed Vidal: “it would be my first Bundesliga goal ever since my return.”