‘I will not abandon them’ - Vidal to remain with Chile

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After missing out on the 2018 World Cup on the final day of CONMEBOL qualifying, the midfielder says he will not retire from international football

Arturo Vidal has decided he will continue to accept call ups from the Chile national team after their elimination from the 2018 World Cup on Tuesday.

Chile had been in a position to qualify for the summer showpiece in Russia, but a loss to Brazil, combined with results elsewhere, saw them fall out of both the automatic qualification spot and the playoff against New Zealand, the latter of which instead went to Peru on the basis of goal difference.

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Cryptic messages on Instagram following the loss led many to believe the 30-year-old Vidal would take a similar path to his club team-mate at Bayern Munich, Arjen Robben, who Tuesday announced his retirement from international football following the Netherlands’ elimination from the 2018 World Cup.

However, Vidal, made it clear via a message on Twitter that he is not done with Chile just yet, while lamenting the failure of this qualification campaign.

“I am so sad, like most Chileans. We have lost our dream. We have all committed mistakes, yes. Now we must learn and try not to repeat them,” Vidal said in his message.

“It is sad not to have managed our goal after such efforts. We left our families alone, travelled thousands and thousands of kilometres, sometimes injured, to compete in the most difficult qualifiers in the world. And after 10 years this is the first time we have been left with empty hands.”

However, despite the heartbreak of failing to qualify for the first time since the nation missed out on the 2006 World Cup, Vidal believes this group of players can bounce back.

“It is tough. But this is not the end of anything. Not the end of a generation, nor this team nor least the end of our dreams. We have much to fight for, much to give, a lot of joy ahead.

“This is a very difficult time, and here we will see who's strongest. Chile is a team of warriors, I feel proud to belong to this squad. And I will not abandon them. We will go together to the end. Every time I am called I will be available for my national team. Our national team.

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“That's why I am sure that ALL TOGETHER, we will be back stgronger than ever. Don't ever write us off, we are Chilean Warriors. Onwards Chile, see you in the next battle. LET'S GO CHILE DAMMIT”

Vidal has had numerous successes alongside his Chile team-mates. The nation won both the 2015 Copa America , their first ever triumph in the tournament, and the 2016 Copa America Centenario, which took place between the nations of CONMEBOL and CONCACAF.

They also finished second in this past summer’s Confederations Cup, losing out to Germany in the final.

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