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Chile footballer Vidal apologises for drunk driving

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Santiago, June 18 (IANS) Chile midfielder Arturo Vidal publicly apologised after being arrested for crashing his car under the influence of alcohol during the Copa America tournament held here.

“I went to the casino, I had two drinks, I had an accident, I put my wife’s life at risk and the lives of many people, I am very sorry about this,” said the player with tears in his eyes during a news conference in Santiago on Wednesday afternoon

Vidal, who plays for Italian club Juventus, was detained by police early Wednesday after hitting another vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.

“I want to say thank you to all the people who supported me all the hours that I was with the police. I want to apologise to my teammates, the technical staff and all my country for what happened today (Wednesday),” added Vidal, Xinhua reported.

After being locked up all night, Vidal was released around mid-day on Wednesday.

Vidal re-joined the Chile team for the Copa America tournament after his release thanks to a controversial decision made by manager Jorge Sampaoli.

The midfielder is currently the top goal-scorer of the world’s oldest international continental competition, scoring three goals in two matches. He is also Chile’s best player in the tournament so far.

“I will try to give my everything to become champion. I want to apologise to all the people involved in the accident which was my fault,” said the player, who formerly played for German side Bayer Leverkusen, while trying to control his tears.

Even Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet has commented on the situation.

“I am very pleased that Vidal, his wife and the other driver were not seriously injured,” said Bachelet to journalists.

Chile will face Bolivia on Saturday in the final match of the first stage of the contest. The two teams along with Mexico and Ecuador form Group A.

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