Things are heating up off the pitch as Portugal and Chile gird for their mouth-watering semi-final clash in the Confederations Cup.
Heading into the fray on Thursday, Chile midfielder Arturo Vidal fired the opening salvo in a bid to distract Portugal main man Cristiano Ronaldo.
Vidal branded Ronaldo a “smart ass.’’
And to raise the ante of his attack, he said the Portugal captain “does not exist.’’
It was Vidal indeed Vidal’s way to express how he feels about the four-time Ballon d’Or winner.
For the Bayern Munich playmaker, Ronaldo, also the heart and soul of Real Madrid, does not impress.
Vidal blasted Ronaldo during a practice by Chile, who nailed a seat in the last four with a draw against Australia on Sunday.
The Chileans finished second in Group B behind world champions Germany.
Chile and Portugal, current Copa America and European champions, respectively, last collided in a friendly in 2011. That match at Estadio Dr. Magalhaes Pessoa in Leiria, Portugal, ended in 1-1 draw.
As Vidal and Co. get ready for Ronaldo, they will be clashing with a team led no less by a man who is enjoying a good run in tournament to date.
Ronaldo has been superb despite speculation over his future and a tax case in Spain as he performs as if no problems are around by scoring two goals and providing one assist.
We all know that mind games are an essential ploy to get some big-name opponents out of focus come match time.
But can Ronaldo be swayed into a word war with Vidal?
Judging from the way he is playing, Ronaldo it seems won’t let Vidal’s tirades get into his head.
Expect him to do the talking on the pitch when they lock horns with Chile.