serie a

Arturo Vidal: Juventus pose the biggest danger to Inter

Milan lead the way from Inter in Serie A, but Arturo Vidal says Juventus pose the biggest threat to the Nerazzurri, not the front-runners.

Vidal on Scudetto rivals: Juve pose the biggest danger to Inter

Arturo Vidal has claimed his former club Juventus, rather than leaders AC Milan, represent the greatest threat to Inter getting their hands on the Scudetto. The Milan giants were first and second heading into the Serie A winter break, with Inter just a point behind their San Siro rivals. Defending champions Juventus stood a further nine points back, albeit with a game in hand, after a painful defeat to Fiorentina last Wednesday halted their unbeaten run in the league.

Vidal enjoyed four highly successful years at Juventus from 2011 to 2015, winning the Serie A title in each of his four seasons as the Bianconeri began their reign of dominance. This season sees Juve attempt to clinch a 10th successive league crown, but all the signs point to their task being more difficult than in recent campaigns. Andrea Pirlo is bedding in as coach, and six draws in their opening 13 games have seen his team drop off the pace.

Milan eyeing first title in a decade

It means Milan can go after a first title since 2010-11, while Inter last landed the silverware a year earlier.  Still, it would be rash to exclude Juventus from the title conversation, with Vidal wary of their threat.

"Juventus are the most dangerous opponents," Vidal told Sky Sport Italia. "They are strong, they have faith in what they do, they have been winning for nine years but they never want to be satisfied and they have everything to confirm themselves as the strongest team again this year. But for our part we have confidence in the work we are doing."

Vidal has been reunited this season with his former Juventus boss Antonio Conte, who led the Turin giants to a hat-trick of Scudetto successes before leaving to coach Italy. The Chilean midfielder sees Conte's Nerazzurri being ready to sustain their early challenge and avoid the downturn in results that saw them fall away in the 2019-20 campaign. Winning their final three games of last season saw Inter finish just one point behind Juventus, but the title had been wrapped up with two games to spare.

"Last year Inter were close to winning the league," Vidal said. "They were a young team that worked hard, but made mistakes in decisive moments, matches in which you cannot make any missteps. This year we must be careful, concentrate, it's a difficult moment but we all have to get the most out of it and make fewer mistakes than last year to reach our goal, which is the Scudetto." Vidal has yet to deliver his best form for Inter and the 33-year-old feels he is still finding his way, saying that "little by little I will reach my classic position".

Fruitful time at Juve

Across his four championship seasons at Juventus, Vidal scored 35 goals, had 20 assists and created a total of 199 chances for others. In 12 Serie A games for Inter, his numbers show no goals yet, one assist and eight chances created. His tackle success rate this term is only 50 per cent too, whereas it was above 70 per cent in each of his four campaigns at Juve, and as high as 83.91 in his final campaign there. Vidal knows Conte has his backing, having spoken about the possibility of reuniting since before he was signed from Barcelona in September. He added: "I had this opportunity and I said, 'Yes, I want to follow you and do my best to win together again'."