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Amiable with an edge

'Warrior' Vidal’s infectious energy

After 90 thrilling minutes against Benfica at the cauldron-like Estadio da Luz in Lisbon the men from Munich took on their own ‘Warrior’ in the media mixed zone. While Arturo Vidal talked to the press, Thomas Müller sneaked up from behind and uttered a few random words in broken Spanish. Then Juan Bernat approached and flicked Vidal's ear. The man with the Mohican haircut and tattoos up to his chin watched his team-mates slip away, smiled and gently said: “I'm happy.”

“Arturo looks a little dangerous at times, but he's harmless. A totally amiable guy,” said Matthias Sammer. The 28-year-old has become a decisive factor for FC Bayern over the last few weeks. On Wednesday evening he struck the equaliser to make the score 1-1 and displayed commitment and an unyielding will to win. He had already scored the match-winning goal in the first leg.

“I think you can tell that he hasn't won the Champions League yet. He makes use of all his qualities. He runs extremely hard and goes for the challenges,” said skipper Philipp Lahm in praise of the midfielder, who lost last year's Champions League final with Juventus. “He invests a lot of energy in these games and infects the team with it.”

'A bit irrational'

“Pure willpower” (Joshua Kimmich), “madness” (Pep Guardiola): several adjectives were used to describe Vidal's goal on Wednesday, when he crashed the ball home left footed on the volley. “Arturo is extremely important, especially in such big games,” said Guardiola, appreciating another strong display by the Chilean. A first team regular in the first half of the season with 26 appearances in 27 competitive fixtures, Vidal has become truly indispensable over the last few weeks.

“At the beginning I needed time to get used to everything, but I've shown I enjoy the games and that I always want to win,” said the midfielder, who was late back for the pre-season programme last summer due to the Copa America. “Arturo has developed magnificently. He's in top form,” commented Sammer, “he's scoring decisive goals, he's working hard, he's strong in one-on-ones and unpredictable because he plays a bit irrationally. This irrationality is good for us.”

His colleagues are equally impressed. “His absolute will to win stands out. The way he leads, the way he goes for every single tackle as if it were his last,” said Kimmich. It was obvious enough recently that Vidal too picks up knocks along the way. But a Warrior grits his teeth of course. “Arturo always wants to play,” said Sammer, joking: “It would take a badly broken leg to stifle his desire to play.”

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