The club, which won the Serie A on Sunday, said Vidal needed arthroscopic surgery on the lateral meniscus of his right knee.
“We don’t dare to say a recovery time because there’s a World Cup in the making,” Cugat after the surgery. “There are many factors at play here: He has to be in good form, in a good mood, and his knee has to respond well. But he’s a very courageous player with a strong character, and he’s always positive. He’s a winner.”
Vidal has been instrumental in helping Juventus to three successive Serie A titles since arriving from Bayer Leverkusen in 2011. He was struggling with problems in his right knee for more than a month, but continued to play for Juventus until his injury worsened during the second leg of the Europa League semifinal against Benfica last Thursday.
“I can say that I have many players, at the international level, who have continued to play with a tear to the lateral meniscus.”
Since joining Juventus, Vidal has transformed impressively from being a stopper to making himself into a versatile player who recovers lost passes, sets up goals, and often scores. He has eight goals in 46 appearances for Chile, and become the national team’s best hope in the World Cup.
Even if it advances as the group’s second qualifier, it would likely have to play against host and five-time champion Brazil. But fans remain confident that Vidal will recover in time, and Chile will continue its solid record: It lost only two out of 15 games last year, including a draw with Spain and win over England in friendlies.
In a statement, Juventus said Vidal will be released from the hospital on Thursday and will return to Turin to continue his recovery. Chilean football association president Sergio Jadue said on Wednesday that he has asked Juventus to let Vidal return to Chile on May 15.
“We all want Vidal to play,” Bachelet said on Wednesday. “Our wish is for his prompt recovery. But he must do the necessary rehabilitation so he can continue to play in the same huge role. If it’s not for the first game, we’re hoping he can play in the second match.”