Vidal: I rejected Manchester United for Bayern Munich

The Chilean midfielder says he came close to moving to Old Trafford before opting to join the Bavarians from Juventus last summer

Arturo Vidal has revealed he rejected a move to Manchester United in favour of joining Bayern Munich.

The midfielder left Juventus for the Allianz Arena last summer but also received offers from several other clubs, including the Premier League side.

Indeed, Vidal, 28, says at one stage he thought he was on his way to Old Trafford, only to have a change of heart and sign for the Bundesliga champions.

When asked about United’s interest, he told the Times: “Yes, there was a chance to come to England. It was last summer, and at one point, we thought that is what would happen.

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“I liked the opportunity that they had offered me, but eventually it did not happen and I chose to come to Bayern. There are always many teams around that go to my agent.

“I wanted to come to a team this strong and to a project that is so ambitious. I feel very happy. It helped that I knew what the country was like and what the people were like.

“We are better, me and my wife and my children. Life is good, very calm. We are starting to feel more comfortable.”

Pogba relishing Vidal reunion

The Juventus midfielder admits he is looking forward to getting stuck into former team-mate Arturo Vidal when the Bianconeri take on Bayern Munich

Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba is looking forward to going head-to-head with former team-mate Arturo Vidal when the Bianconeri face Bayern Munich in the Champions League round of 16.

The Italian champions welcome their German counterparts for the first leg of what is promising to be a scintillating tie between the two European giants on Tuesday, and Pogba believes the presence of Vidal – who left Juve for Bayern in the off-season – has added some extra spice to the affair.

The two last played together during Juventus’ Champions League final loss to Barcelona last season.

“We know all about Arturo’s quality – he is very dynamic, he runs a lot and he can score at any moment,” Pogba said.

“He is very skilful, he can play a great final ball, so he is a complete player; everyone knows it. We will work in training on stopping him and the other Bayern players.

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“We know him so we will give him a few kicks – but nothing too nasty! We hope to win against my friend ‘Arturito’.”

The two teams met in a Champions League quarter-final in 2013, a tie that Pogba recalls as being fiercely competitive.

“I was on the bench [for the first leg]. That was when Bayern were really, really good – the year they won the Champions League,” the Frenchman recalled.

“They had a very well-organised team with some lethal players up front.

“This season they also have a great team, with players with great individual skills who can make the difference at any time.

“But we are Juventus, we are a great club. We are not favourites to win this tie, but that can be an advantage for us as well. We have nothing to lose.” 

Allegri reveals Pep admiration: We have lots in common

The Bianconeri coach is looking for a strong reaction from his players after drawing with Bologna, as the Italian champions prepare for a daunting last 16 test

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri has revealed his respect for Bayern Munich counterpart Pep Guardiola, as the two sides prepare to lock horns in the Champions League.

The Old Lady will welcome Bayern to Juventus Stadium on Tuesday, in the first leg of the last 16 clash.

And Allegri showered the former Barcelona trainer with praise ahead of the clash, as Juve look to bounce back from a draw against Bologna.

“I admire him, his Barcelona team had incredible class,” he told Suddeutsche Zeitung

“I think we have a great deal in common. We both played in the centre of midfield, like most coaches, and we had great technique. 

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“I was never a champion [as a player]. I think it’s fantastic an average player can become a great coach.” 

Allegri added that he was not planning to give Bayern special attention, and trusted in his stars to play their own game. 

“Of course we study the opponents, but it makes no sense to be thinking about that all day, it would drive you crazy,” he admitted. 

“I tell my players all the time: ‘You guys make the tactics.’ They must play feeling happy, otherwise there is no sense in even taking to the pitch.”

Bayern learned of Guardiola exit from TV, says Vidal

The Chile international midfielder is hoping for a warm welcome when he returns to Turin for the Champions League last-16 tie with former club Juventus on Tuesday

Arturo Vidal  has claimed the Bayern Munich  squad only learned of Pep Guardiola’s  decision to leave the club after hearing the news on television.

Manchester City announced last month that Guardiola will replace Manuel Pellegrini as manager at the end of the season, with Carlo Ancelotti succeeding the Catalan at the Allianz Arena.

And Vidal has suggested the news came as an unwelcome surprise for the players, though he is now determined to secure the treble in order to give Guardiola the best possible send-off.

“It was strange and we only learned about it by watching TV,” he told  La Gazzetta dello Sport .

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“Either way, after him we’ll have an excellent coach like Carlo Ancelotti. For now we want to win everything so Pep can leave happy.”

Vidal faces former club Juventus in the Champions League last-16 on Tuesday and the Chile international is hoping for something of a warm welcome in Turin.

“I return as an opponent, not an enemy,” he said. “I don’t know how I will be welcomed, but I hope the fans don’t jeer.

“I am excited about this game and it’ll be strange to see myself there with another jersey. “If I score, then I won’t celebrate. In four years I learned and won a great deal. I left because it was an opportunity for me and a good move for Juve, so we were all happy.”

Vidal denied that he could offer the inside track on how to beat the Serie A champions, who have been in fearsome form in Italy in recent weeks.

“I think we each have a 50-50 chance of going through,” he added. “I haven’t given my team-mates any special advice, as they know how strong Juve are even without Vidal.”

Bayern 3-1 Darmstadt: Muller hits double in comeback win

Bayern Munich were forced to come from behind as they saw off Darmstadt 3-1 thanks to a Thomas Muller double with Robert Lewandowski adding a third late on.

Pep Guardiola made three changes to the side that beat Augsburg last time out with Rafinha, Serdar Tasci and Kingsley Coman all coming into the team

However it was the visitors who took the lead at Allianz Arena, Sandro Wagner stabbing Sandro Sirigi’s cross past Manuel Neuer after 26 minutes to stun the home crowd.

Bayern had to wait until after the interval to equalise, Muller chesting down Rafinha’s cross before firing low past Christian Mathenia.

The Germany international then fired the hosts ahead in fine style, taking Arturo Vidal’s pass on his chest before firing an overhead kick into the top corner.

Roberto Lewandowski then ensured the three points, grabbing his side’s third late on, tapping home Franck Ribery’s cross.

More to follow…