Summary

  • Vidal targets UEFA Champions League success in 2017.
  • Rates 2016 as a "nine out of ten".
  • Pleased to end year on a high with 3-0 win against title rivals Leipzig.

Bundesliga winner, DFB Cup winner, Copa America Centenario winner, Chilean Footballer of the Year: it has been a memorable 2016 for Arturo Vidal, although FC Bayern München's combative midfielder is aiming to go one better in 2017.

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bundesliga.com caught up with one of world football's finest midfielders to reflect on the year just gone and look ahead to what is to come in 2017...

bundesliga.com: Arturo Vidal, what were your first steps in the game and what was your relationship to football when you were younger?

Arturo Vidal: It was difficult at the start when I was a boy, but thanks to my mother's efforts I managed to make it. On top of that, I was lucky enough to have a pitch right outside my house. Those things helped me to believe it was possible to become a footballer and that I'd be able to help my family. Everything I experienced back then helped me a great deal psychologically. It gave me the desire and the battling spirit to keep going and fight out in the world.

bundesliga.com: What was it like for you when you first arrived in Germany, at Bayer 04 Leverkusen, in 2007?

Vidal: It wasn't easy but I was so determined to succeed and make my childhood ambitions come true that I decided to fight against everything. I was at odds with everything: with the language, for example, with great players who were older than me, with coaches who initially left me out of the team or with whom I had a difference of opinion. There were a lot of things that generally don't get publicised, but it was my mentality, or my desire to succeed, that were stronger than anything else.

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Vidal brings the ball under control. © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA / Johannes Simon

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bundesliga.com: You have now been at FC Bayern for approximately 18 months. How would you evaluate your time in the with them?

Vidal: To be honest I'm very happy and satisfied with what I've done. That said, I'm still missing a few things that would make me even more satisfied, that would make me totally happy, such as winning the Champions League this season. That's one of my objectives. It's been a dream of mine ever since I started to like football. Another dream is to win the World Cup with my national team.

bundesliga.com: You have been surrounded by top-class players throughout your career. Which players have you most enjoyed watching or playing alongside?

Vidal: I've played with a lot of first-rate players and several of them are the best in the world at the moment. It's difficult to choose one ahead of any other, but in goal, obviously, Manuel Neuer, Gianluigi Buffon and Claudio Bravo. In midfield there's Andrea Pirlo, Xabi Alonso, Charles Aranguiz and Franck Ribery. There are so many good footballers. I could fill three of four teams with players I like, and all of them would be top-class.

bundesliga.com: You have won almost everything you could have in 2016. How would you summarise your year?

Vidal: On a scale of one to ten I'd give it a nine. The only thing missing was the Champions League, where we reached the semi-finals. We played really well in that match but we were knocked out by a strong team [Club Atletico de Madrid]. I hope this coming year will be a ten.

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Vidal (r.) thinks highly of his Bayern colleague Xabi Alonso (l.). © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA / Johannes Simon

bundesliga.com: Can Bayern win everything?

Vidal: This team has to win everything and that's why we've got the players we've got. I think 2017 will be our year. We've got a very good coaching staff and great players who are hungry to win titles. So we're going to try and win everything.

bundesliga.com: Was Bayern's final game before the winter break, a 3-0 win over RB Leipzig, a statement of intent?

Vidal: Yes, we played really well in that game and personally I felt pretty comfortable. It sent a message to our opponent and also to the rest of the league. But the most important thing is that we went into the break top of the Bundesliga.

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bundesliga.com: You still have many more years left as a footballer. Do you think you will finish your career at Bayern?

Vidal: Yes, it's possible. I feel good here and I'm happy so it's difficult to say that I want to finish my career elsewhere. I feel as if I'm at home. My family is doing well and my kids are better than ever. That helps me make decisions that help me and my family. When you're happy with a team, like I am at Bayern, then you want to stay there a long time. On the other hand, you never know what the future might bring. I'd also like to play for Colo Colo [in Chile] at the end of my career.

bundesliga.com: What has football given you?

Vidal: A lot. I'd say almost everything, in fact. It's helped me grow as a person, to mature. Living away from your homeland is difficult in general, but football helps you to forget your problems and about the distance between you and your family and friends. I'm grateful to football because without it I don't know where I'd be today.

Vidal (front) competes with Leipzig's Yussuf Poulsen for possession © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA / Johannes Simon

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bundesliga.com: How do you like living in Munich? Are you able to go out and quietly enjoy a coffee or have a meal in a restaurant?

Vidal: I really like living in Munich. Here in Germany my family – wife and kids – is very united. There's a lot of love and care. And that's essential for me, it helps me feel at ease. But it's obviously normal for me to miss my friends too.

bundesliga.com: What would you like to do once your playing days are over?

Vidal: I'd rest a bit and spend time with my children, my grandchildren - God willing – and my family in general. I'd also like to have time to enjoy my horses and all the things that have cost me a lot of energy over all these years.