Watching Arturo Vidal in action on the football pitch, you could be forgiven for thinking you had just been transported back in time to a great Roman amphitheatre.

The battle cry, the dignity and the undying will to win at all costs - the Bayern Munich and Chile international midfielder is a modern-day gladiator and world-class footballer rolled into one.

Watch: Arturo Vidal on life in the Bundesliga

"We called him the earth eater," recalled Arturo Olea, Vidal's coach at boyhood club Rodelino. "He fell and he played, we beat him up and he stopped - but being hurt or injured, he didn't care."

Over two decades on, age has only made him more resilient. After honing his no-nonsense craft at Colo-Colo and Bayer Leverkusen, Vidal has cemented his legacy as one of the modern era's most complete box-to-box midfielders during decorated stints with Juventus and now Bayern.

"Many try to imitate my style, but I want to say one thing: I'm the best defensive midfielder in the world," four-time Serie A and two-time Bundesliga champion Vidal boldly avowed back in 2014. "No one defends as well as me and scores so many goals."

The statistics give weight to Vidal's claim. The Santiago native has come out on top of 64 per cent of his attempted challenges to date, and scored 107 goals in 494 appearances for club and country. Defying preconceptions for good measure, he has only been sent off seven times in his career.

Watch: Vidal scores his second of four Bundesliga goals in 2016/17

All work and all play, Vidal's continued success at club level is mirrored by recent achievements on the international stage. He was the driving force behind Chile's 2015 and 2016 Copa America triumphs, and grabbed the breakthrough goal in La Roja's FIFA 2017 Confederations Cup opener against Cameroon this past weekend.

"Thanks for the love," Vidal said to FIFA TV, as he picked up his man-of-the-match award. "Obviously it's important to get off to a good start, and I'm delighted to score, but the three points are what matter most. We've put in the preparation and want to go as far as we can. Hopefully we can win the competition."

Germany provide the next test of Chile's Confederations Cup credentials, in Kazan on 22 June. And while Cameroon may have been something of an unknown quantity, Vidal will not need to do much homework on a side predominated by tried and tested Bundesliga talent, including Bayern teammate Joshua Kimmich.

"Jo didn't play a lot [last season], but he was always well prepared when he did," Vidal explained. "It's always a tough decision for the coach. Young players need minutes under their belts to develop. But he's a quality player."

Eight years Kimmich's senior, Vidal is well placed to judge. Once the budding star himself, the gladiatorial 30-year-old has picked off the competition on his way to the pinnacle of the game. Father Time will force a changing of the guard eventually, but do not expect the Bundesliga's beast incarnate to surrender without a fight. A warrior to the core, King Arturo will defend his throne until the bitter end.

Chris Mayer-Lodge

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