Chile vs Colombia Former teammates at Bayern Munich
James Rodriguez and Arturo Vidal are set to face off against each other when Colombia take on Chile in a World Cup qualifier in the early hours of Wednesday morning. While the duels between the two sides are almost always fiery, the aforementioned players share a solid bond from their time together at Bayern Munich.
The friendship began when James joined Vidal at Bayern on a two-year loan spell from Real Madrid, where the Chilean took him under his wing and formed a good relationship with the now Everton man in what was a troubled chapter of his career.
Even when the pair were rivals in LaLiga Santander, with James at Real Madrid and Vidal at Barcelona, the latter always stuck up for his former colleague at a time when he was frozen out of the Los Blancos setup by Zinedine Zidane.
Vidal even made his feelings known about James‘ situation while he was a Barcelona player, insisting that a player of the 2014 World Cup Golden Boot winner had to be playing more regularly. Those comments look to have been justified by James, who has gone on to set the Premier League alight in his first couple of months for Everton.
The Toffees’ new star has instantly become a fan favourite with the English club enjoying their best ever start to a Premier League season with four wins from their first four matches.
“James if of a high pedigree and should have been a starter at Madrid. He had to leave in order to play and enjoy football,” Vidal recently commented.
Vidal may now be thinking that he should’ve been more careful for what he wished for, however, as he is set to face his good friend at the peak of his powers. Rodriguez’s talent was always undisputed but combined with regular first team action and a newfound spring in his step, the Colombian could be about to punish a wounded Chile side who enter the encounter on the back of a painful 2-1 loss to Uruguay.
The pair may greet each other warmly ahead of the game, but when the referee’s whistle marks the start of the game, that friendship will be on pause for 90 minutes. The South American World Cup qualifiers are a brutal test of endurance, strength and skill, and neither of the pair will want to be on the wrong end of the scoreline.