Arturo Vidal has announced he will retire from Chile duty after the 2018 World Cup but admits the end of his international career may come sooner with his national team in a “terrible” position.
The Bayern Munich midfielder declared his intention to end his international career after Tuesday’s 1-0 loss against Bolivia in La Paz that dropped La Roja out of the qualifying places for next year’s tournament in Russia with two rounds remaining.
Vidal already hinted he was nearing retirement after last week’s shocking 3-0 home defeat to Paraguay
The 30-year-old apologized to the fans for those huge setbacks and posted a photograph of the team on the plane heading back to Chile with a message on his Instagram that said: “Sorry Chile for these two losses! We gave everything on the field but we couldn’t win. We will continue fighting!!! Two matches and the World Cup is what I have left, thanks for so much affection in all these years!!!!”
Since making his senior debut with Chile in February 2007, Vidal has earned 97 caps and has proved a key figure for La Roja, helping Chile win back-to-back Copa America titles and finishing runners-up at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.
Vidal also played an important role in the past two World Cups, with Chile reaching the round of 16 on both occasions. He is now ready for the final chapter.
“I’m going to prepare myself to be at my best for the next two games [against Ecuador and Brazil] in order to go to the World Cup and then leave the national team,” the former Juventus star said in a story on La Tercera.
Asked about his plans to retire, Vidal said: “I’ve been thinking about it for some time, I want to be with my family. These 10 years have been hard and the time has come to rest.”
Vidal also acknowledged that his country’s chances of qualifying for a third straight World Cup are now slim.
“The situation is terrible,” he said. “But the important thing is that we still have a chance and we are going to fight until the end. With one month more under our belt, we should be able to take six points. I’m sad and down but I have a lot of hope.”
Chile have dropped to sixth in CONMEBOL qualifying, two places and one point adrift of fifth place, the intercontinental playoff spot currently occupied by Argentina.
Argentina are level on 24 points with Peru, who are fourth. Only the top four sides will qualify directly for the tournament that is to be staged in Russia.
Chile, coached by Juan Antonio Pizzi, resume their qualifying campaign at home to Ecuador on Oct. 5 before taking on group leaders Brazil five days later in Sao Paulo in their final game.