Arturo Vidal handed driving ban, apologises to ‘all of Chile’
An emotional Arturo Vidal apologised to “all of Chile” after being slapped with a driving ban by a Chilean judge, but national coach Jorge Sampaoli revealed he will remain with the squad as they target Copa America success on home soil.
The Juventus midfielder, 28, will have to present himself to the Chilean embassy in Milan after the judge accepted a request to allow another 120 days for the investigation.
Vidal was arrested on drink-driving charges after crashing his car on the outskirts of Santiago on Tuesday night.
Chile's national team player Arturo Vidal (C) is seen inside a courtReuters
He was taken to hospital with minor injuries after wrecking his Ferrari in the incident.
Vidal wept at a press conference after his hearing, during which dozens of fans lined the street outside the court in support of one of La Roja’s biggest stars.
Fans gather outside a court at San Bernardo town, nearby SantiagoReuters
"I was at the casino, I had two drinks and then put at risk the lives of my wife and others," said Vidal.
"I apologise to my team-mates, the staff, the people and to all of Chile. The accident was my fault.
"It was all my fault. I let everyone down. I will give my all to win the Copa America."
It is alleged Vidal told the officer who arrested him: “you can handcuff me, but you’re f****** up the whole of Chile”.
Chile were given a rest day on Tuesday following their 3-3 draw with Mexico the previous evening.
The wrecked remains of the automovile of Chilean footballer Arturo Vidal remains in the town of Buin, 50 kilometres south of SantiagoAFP
"Arturo’s accident worried us all," said Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli. "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’d 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. An internal correction. But it’s not in my nature to single out and exclude someone for making a mistake.
"I never test my players for alcohol when they arrive at training. I trust my team. I know they’ll give their everything to win. And I don’t see their decision to drink as a question of my authority.
"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."
Sampaoli’s side top Group A ahead of their final pool match against second-placed Bolivia on Friday. Vidal is expected to feature.
The wrecked remains of the automovile of Chilean footballer Arturo Vidal remains in the town of Buin, 50 kilometres south of Santiago, after an accident on June 16, 2015.Reuters