Chile’s failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup has kicked off a post-mortem in the South American nation, which has included the release of comments made by former national team coach Jorge Sampaoli.
The current Argentina boss spoke to a group of journalists in 2015, while he was still in charge of La Roja, about the worrying state of the squad and of some players.
Now, two years later, local newspaper Las Ultimas Noticias has published some of Sampaoli’s remarks, with the tactician commenting in some detail on the off-the-field issues of Arturo Vidal.
“He needs a medical specialist’s help,” Sampaoli said of the player who was arrested for driving under the influence during the 2015 Copa America.
“He likes to drink and doesn’t control himself.
“When we were flying back from Lima one time, he came to ask me if he could open a can of beer he’d bought at the airport.
“I told him not to, as some directors and other people were coming, but he and some others managed to get hold of a bottle of whisky anyway.”
It wasn’t just Vidal who Sampaoli commented on, as he was scathing of the whole squad in general.
“None of [a particular group] were at the right level to face the qualifying campaign we had in front of us,” he said, predicting Chile’s downfall.
“Every time I saw Edu [Eduardo Vargas] he was worse than before.
“Mati [Matias Fernandez] no longer played at the level I wanted for the national team, while [Mauricio] Pinilla only thought about parties.”
He did point out that there were some hard-working players in the squad and said that the captain Claudio Bravo tried to keep the misbehaving players in line, but added that the goalkeeper wasn’t really the one who led the squad.