Belfast Telegraph

Arturo Vidal set to rest before World Cup battles

By Stuart McKinley

Juventus star Arturo Vidal has been named in the Chile World Cup squad, but it is unlikely that he will figure in their pre-tournament friendly with Northern Ireland on Thursday morning (1am).

The 27-year-old midfielder has had a similar operation to Uruguay striker Luis Suarez – who missed Saturday's match with Michael O'Neill's men as he recovers from his surgery less than two weeks ago – and like the Liverpool hitman, there were fears that he would miss the tournament.

Despite those doubts Chile's Argentine manager Jorge Sampaoli had no hesitation on selecting the player, who is considered as one of the best all-round midfielders in the world, for the finals.

And the tournament in Brazil could provide a shop window for Chilean striker Alexis Sanchez.

It is understood that both Liverpool and Manchester United are keen to sign the 25-year-old, who has an impressive tally of a goal every three games in international football.

Both Liverpool and United are believed to have had offers for Sanchez rebuffed by Barca and Juventus are favourites to sign him if he does leave the Nou Camp.

There are three English-based players in the Chile squad. Gary Medel of Cardiff City is a regular in the team, as is his defensive partner Gonzalo Jara, who plays for Nottingham Forest.

Wigan Athletic's experienced midfielder Jean Beausejour makes up the trio.

Sampaoli has also sprung a surprise with his inclusion of Miiko Albornoz. He is Swedish-born, with a Finnish mother, but after playing from under-17 to under-21 level with Sweden he declared for Chile – the country of his father's birth – earlier this year and won his second cap in a 3-2 win over Egypt last weekend.

Belfast Telegraph


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