The title makes a bold claim, admittedly, and right now you're probably making a mental list of other potential candidates worthy of that label. But hear us out before you cast final judgement – the case for Arturo Vidal as the world's finest midfielder is a compelling one.

Put to one side for a moment his impressive array of tattoos and ever-changing haircuts of varying degrees of spikiness; do not be fooled into thinking that the hard-man exterior only houses a midfield warrior.

For that is perhaps the most well-known of the 30-year-old's qualities, the most easily recognisable. From his position in the middle of the pitch, Vidal regularly breaks down opposition attacks and wins back possession, unafraid of the physical battle.

In 2016/17, as in the previous season, Vidal committed more fouls (46) and picked up more yellow cards (eight) than any other Bayern Munich player.

Yet the Chile international is also heavily involved going forward, his high-energy style allowing him to pose a threat in the opposition penalty area too. Last season he averaged 107 touches per game, misplacing just 12 per cent of his passes as a link between defence and attack.

And while Robert Lewandowski (43 goals) and Arjen Robben (16) were Bayern's top scorers, guess who came third? That's right: Vidal. He hit the net nine times, and was the only Bayern player to score in all four competitions in 2016/17 (Bundesliga, UEFA Champions League, DFB Cup and Supercup).

Still not convinced? Add into the equation that when Vidal scores, his goals are invariably important ones. Nine of his 16 strikes in competitive games for Bayern have put his side 1-0 up, with five of his seven goals and assists in 2016/17 doing precisely that.

Watch: Highlights of Bayern's Matchday 1 triumph over Leverkusen

As Vidal himself said back in 2014: "Many try to imitate my style, but I want to say one thing: I'm the best defensive midfielder in the world. No one defends as well as me and scores so many goals."

Former Bayern coach Pep Guardiola was equally effusive in his praise for the Bayern No.23, once saying: "He's a very, very important player. He's got great character and great experience."

Despite boasting a squad bursting with central midfield talent, such as Thiago, Renato Sanches and newcomers Sebastian Rudy and Corentin Tolisso, Vidal started both in the Supercup triumph over Borussia Dortmund in early August (scoring in the penalty shoot-out) and in the 3-1 victory over Bayer Leverkusen on Bundesliga Matchday 1.

Indeed, that game against Leverkusen was a microcosm of everything Vidal excels at. He won more tackles (16) than anyone else on the pitch and also provided the assist for Tolisso to make it 2-0 in the 18th minute.

It is telling that when Bayern signed Tolisso over the summer, then head coach Carlo Ancelotti praised the French international's "dynamism", commenting that "he's similar to Vidal, who I like a lot."

Watch: Vidal's rise to superstardom from humble beginnings in Chile

Furthermore, Vidal has a winner's mentality, always eager for more success. It is no coincidence that he earned a sixth consecutive domestic league title 2017, after winning four Serie A crowns with Juventus followed by two in the Bundesliga with Bayern.

The Santiago native is similarly a man for the big occasion at international level. Vidal made his Chile debut in April 2007 and has since become the leader - not to mention the brains - at the heart of their midfield. In 2015 he became a national hero when Chile won the Copa America on home soil, chipping in with three goals and scoring his penalty in the shoot-out win over Argentina in the final.

La Roja successfully defended their Copa America title at the Centenario edition in 2016, once again by beating Argentina on penalties in the final, although this time Vidal's spot-kick was saved.

In the summer of 2017 he was one of the standout players of the Confederations Cup in Russia, scoring his penalty in the semi-final shoot-out win over Portugal before Chile were ultimately beaten 1-0 by Germany in the final.

All of which makes it no surprise to see Vidal's name on the 23-man shortlist for The Best FIFA Men's Player Award 2017. Simply put he is the finished article, the ultimate midfielder. He can pass, tackle, run and score and has done so for years with outrageous success for club and country.

How many other midfielders can say that? If you're struggling to come up with some names do not be alarmed - Vidal's in a league of his own.

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