Inter Milan signed Arturo Vidal to help them progress in the Champions League. Instead, the summer signing from Barcelona may have helped to knock Antonio Conte’s side out at the group stage.
Not long after the Nerazzuri boss paid tribute to what he felt was new-found maturity from his one-time Juventus talisman, Vidal provided an untimely reminder of his self-destruct mode.
With a place in the second round of Europe’s premier club competition slipping through Inter’s fingers, Vidal could hardly have picked a worse time to reveal his feelings about VAR.
Inter were already a goal down at home to Real Madrid in a crucial Champions League clash on Wednesday when Vidal bared his teeth and shouted in the face of referee Anthony Taylor.
The reason for Vidal’s fury? He thought he’d been denied a stonewall penalty. In truth, the defiant Taylor didn’t need VAR to realise it wasn’t a spot-kick.
You have the s*** on VAR to look at and still nothing!” Vidal was reported to have said (Marca).
The resulting red card was a fitting punishment following a display of petulance from a soon to be 34-year-old.
Down to ten men, Inter were eventually swept aside by a ruthless Real and are now staring down the barrel of a second successive Champions League group-stage exit.
And while many Newcastle United fans still mourn the death of a Saudi-backed takeover, Vidal’s latest loss of discipline should have supporters emitting an almighty sigh of relief.
Mundo Deportivo claimed in the summer the two-time Copa America winner could be the first of many marquee signings in an exciting new era of ownership at St James’ Park.
During his Juve and Bayern Munich heyday, Vidal was one of the planet’s most complete midfielders. A belligerent ball-winner, pristine playmaker and penalty-box predator rolled into a heavily tattooed 5ft 11in frame.
In the words of none other than Andres Iniesta, Vidal is “technically very gifted” and a “great player” with a remarkable trophy haul.
But, as he reminded everyone at the San Siro, he can also be a liability. In 12 games for Inter, Vidal has more red cards than goals.
Perhaps former Dutch international Jan Mulder said it best in conversaton with Voetbal Krant: “That’s something for a Saturday afternoon somewhere in a lower division. But this costs Inter tens of millions. How stupid can you be? It is also not the first time.”
Unless Vidal can control his fiery temper, it’s unlikely to be the last either.