Arturo Vidal surpassed his childhood hero Marcelo Salas by playing in the semi-finals for Juventus; he tells UEFA.com about their run, Real Madrid CF and THAT penalty.
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As a youngster in Chile, Arturo Vidal would watch compatriot Marcelo Salas play against Real Madrid CF or for Juventus in the UEFA Champions League and dream of doing similar. That dream has come true.
Vidal is in Madrid with Juventus today, hoping to defend a 2-1 lead in the second leg of the semi-finals, a stage further than even Salas ever managed for SS Lazio or the Bianconeri. That they are doing so is thanks to Vidal's coolly-taken penalty against AS Monaco FC in the last eight. Vidal spoke to UEFA.com about Juve's run, his feelings when taking that penalty and his hopes against Madrid.
UEFA.com: Is this a different feeling to anything you have experienced before in football?
Arturo Vidal: Yes, for sure. It is a dream, because I have always dreamt of being in a Champions League semi-final. I watched it at home as a boy, and now I am really here, that is the thing I have been enjoying the most. And we will try to become champions. I know it's very difficult, but I've made it here, and that is difficult too. So I hope to not stop until I lift the trophy.
UEFA.com: What was the atmosphere like at Juventus after you lost two of your first three group stage games?
Vidal: Yes, that was a very ugly moment we went through with Juventus in those first games, as we never expected to lose. And yes, we lost in a way that we didn't like. We thought it would be an easier group, but it got complicated, and in the end we had to give everything to get through,
UEFA.com: You scored the goal that sent Juventus into their first UEFA Champions League semi-final since 2003. What were your nerves like taking it?
Vidal: Well, very emotional at first, because it was very hard to score in the Champions League. Last year I scored a lot, and the year before I scored as well, but this year it was a lot harder because of various problems. But many beautiful things, and also bad [feelings] came together in that moment. I like to let my heart speak when I score, and celebrate it to the maximum. And thankfully we qualified for the semi-final with that goal.
UEFA.com: Real Madrid have a magnificent team. What sort of a challenge will it be for you and your team-mates to face the reigning European Champions?
Vidal: When you play against Madrid, you play against the best players in the world, and we know that. We'll try to give our utmost. But we also have first-class players, and we hope we can show that over the two legs and reach the final.