Juventus centre-back Giorgio Chiellini discussed how former teammate Arturo Vidal would often go out drinking during his time in Turin.
This excerpt is from Chiellini’s autobiography ‘Io, Giorgio’ and he recalls the Chilean’s off-the-pitch behaviour between 2011 and 2015.
“A footballer isn’t a devil or a saint. The distinction to be made is quite another. That is, between those who are real and those who are fake,” Chiellini wrote.
“Someone like Vidal sometimes went out and drank more than they should’ve. Everyone knew it. It can be said that alcohol was a bit of a weakness for him.
“However, that doesn’t put into question whether he is a champion or what type of person he is.
“Weaknesses are part of human nature. What matters are the consequences they can have on a squad.
“The great Arturo didn’t show up for training a couple of times a year or, when he did, let’s say he was rather merry.
“However, he never slacked. On the contrary, I think that sometimes, certain ways of being can make you stronger.
“Unfortunately, I didn’t get to know Paolo Montero that well. He was someone else who lived like a king at night.
“During his last season with us, when his performance levels had dropped, [Luciano] Moggi went to him and said: ‘Paolo, please stop staying at home in the evening. Go back to your old ways!’ Vidal was a bit like that.
“I still remember a preseason tour in the United States. We were in Miami the night before our last training session and were given hall passes.
“The next morning, Arturo was nowhere to be seen. He was in bed and he had to be physically dragged out.
“We also tried out our new training gear that day. We were all dressed in black, in 40-degree heat: [Antonio] Conte couldn’t wait to kick him out of the squad and make an example out of him.
“Instead, after 10 minutes when Arturo still looked drunk and didn’t even see the ball go by, he ended up running like crazy and beat everyone else by 20 metres.
“What can you say to a person who, among other things, brings joy to a squad, as well as being someone who drives the team on and is both a fighter and a great champion?”