Dubai: Giorgio Chiellini, the rock of Italian defence, let a few secrets out of the bag when he revealed in his book that FC Barcelona’s Chilean playmaker Arturo Vidal - an erstwhile teammate - had a weakness for drinking.
In his autobiography, an excerpt of which has appeared on Italian publication ‘SOS Fanta’, the veteran skipper for Italy and Juventus, Chiellini has spilled the beans on the Chilean’s private life of partying and drinking.
“Someone like Vidal sometimes came out and drank more than they should, everyone knows, it can be said that alcohol was a bit of a weak point [for him],” Chiellini has written in his book.
“The footballer is not a devil or a saint. The distinction to be made is rather another, that is, between the real and the fake ones,” he has added.
Chiellini spent four seasons at Juve with Vidal, who is now with Barca. The Italian skipper has further added that although the talented Chilean midfielder was a “champion”, his fondness for partying held him back.
However, that doesn’t put into question whether he is a champion or which type of person he is. Weaknesses are part of human nature. What matters are the consequences they can have on a squad
Narrating one particular incident during their pre-season tour of North America, Chiellini mentions how their coach [Antonio Conte] had been livid with his player.
“Vidal was drinking, I remember that night in Miami and Conte wanted to punish him, but he didn’t,” Chiellini narrated.
“However, that doesn’t put into question whether he is a champion or which type of person he is. Weaknesses are part of human nature. What matters are the consequences they can have on a squad.”
In recent weeks there has been a lot of talk about Vidal being one of the few targets on Inter Milan’s list after Conte took over the Nerazzurri earlier this season. “Just in those years, it was said that he did not live an athlete’s life, that he went out to drink in the evening,” Chiellini has written.
Such revelations have not gone all too well with the Barcelona midfielder, although he has added that his former captain at Juve did call him to explain his comments. “People have focused on the worst things Chiellini said. I don’t see why one should say those things, it annoyed me,” Vidal narrated in an Instagram Live chat.
“But he also said that I was a champion. He called me and explained to me. I didn’t do anything I couldn’t do. I was allowed to go out. I am a human being like everyone else. I work hard and if friends meet for an asado [social event] with the club’s permission, I’ll go too,” Vidal said.
“If I have to stay focused, I do it, but when it’s my turn to have fun I take advantage of it, I’m just like the others. When I was wrong, I paid and got up,” the Chilean added.
Vidal isn’t the only player that Chiellini has hit back at his autobiography as the Italian has also hit out at former teammates Mario Balotelli and Felipe Melo.
Chiellini had later apologised to Balotelli for saying the striker “deserved a slap” for his attitude during Italy’s 2013 Confederations Cup campaign, while veteran defender also described former teammate Melo as being “the worst of the worst” and “a bad apple” during his time in Turin.