Santiago, June 18 (IANS) Arturo Vidal is expected to line up for Chile in the team’s Copa America Group A match against Bolivia on Friday despite his arrest for drunken driving, team coach Jorge Sampaoli has said.
The 28-year-old Juventus forward was released by police on Wednesday after crashing his Ferrari in Santiago the previous night, reports Xinhua.
He suffered only minor bruising in the incident, which left his car with extensive damage. Police said Vidal must present himself to the Chilean embassy in Milan each month while investigations continue.
“Arturo’s accident worried us all. The first things that crossed our minds were his health and his family. We will see how he is,” Sampaoli said on Wednesday.
“He is a very valuable player who has made a mistake, but not the kind of mistake to exclude him. He was in his free time after all. I don’t believe this is as serious as some have tried to portray it.
“At this point it would be easier to exclude him than to include him. And if we notice anything that affects the national team, we will make a decision on that. But it’s not in my nature to single out and exclude someone for making a mistake.”
Vidal is currently the tournament’s top scorer with three goals from two matches. Chile lead their group with four points, ahead of second-placed Bolivia on goal difference.
Sampaoli said he trusted his players to act responsibly in their private lives.
“I never test my players for alcohol when they arrive at training. I trust my team. I know they’ll give their all to win. And I don’t see their decision to drink as a question of my authority,” Sampaoli said.
“If he hadn’t crashed, he would have arrived at the right time to training but maybe not been able to control what state he was in. The group will understand this decision is not because he’s Vidal but because it’s a situation that we need to manage.”
It is not the first time Vidal has courted controversy. In 2011, he was among five players suspended for 10 matches for breaking a curfew while on international duty.