Copa 2016 Player Review : Charles Aranguiz - The Chilean midfield general
A look at Charles Aranguiz, Arturo Vidal's partner in crime at the heart of the Chilean midfield.
After eight long months of injury layoff, we seldom find footballers walk straight back into their international team usless their names are LionelMessi or Cristiano Ronaldo. But, in this case, it is 27-year-old veteran Chilean midfielder Charles Aranguiz. The Bayer Leverkusen player has just returned after tearing his achilles tendon in his left foot back in August 2015 during a club training session.
Aranguiz, who has been gifted back his position in international colors, justifies his importance in the squad. He must make full use of his second chance and has to play an important role in the heart of the Chilean midfield if at all La Roja have a chance at retaining their coveted title.
Son of football coach Mariana Sandoval, Aranguiz did not have to look beyond his house for inspiration. With footballing genes in his blood, Aranguiz made a fast start to his career in his early teens playing for various academies in his home country. After impressing various scouts and professional coaches, he was awarded a contract with local club Cobreloa at the age of 17.
From then onwards, his improvement as a footballer was impressive as he made giant strides in the Chilean footballing circuit. Playing for clubs like Colo Colo, Club Universidad de Chile and Sport Club Internacional , Aranguiz was regarded as one of the giants of South American football. He played a total of 321 games in South America and found the back of the back of the net an impressive 48 times (for a central midfielder).
After spending 9 years playing for clubs in the southern hemisphere, Aranguiz made a move to Europe where German giants Bayer Leverkusen paid £8.6 million for his services. However, just after playing a couple of games for his new club, Aranguiz tore his Achilles tendon and was ruled out for eight months. After his long injury break, Aranguiz was up and running in a flash as he scored a couple of goals and provided another in the last four fixtures of the Bundesliga season.
Aranguiz won his first international cap in 2009. Since then, he has represented his country 39 times and has scored 6 goals. Aranguiz established himself as a Chilean powerhouse in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
He played a massive role in dumping defending champions Spain as he scored and assisted a goal in their 2-0 win over the La Furia Roja. He was a vital cog in midfield for Chile during their 2015 Copa America triumph. Due to his impressive performances, Aranguiz won a place in the “2015 Copa America Team of the Tournament”
Position: Central Midfielder
Strengths: With 92% passing accuracy in the 2015-16 Bundesliga season, playing short passes with the ball is definitely one of Aranguiz’ strong points. But, his ability to hit shots on target from a distance is one of his biggest strength. Possessing a tactical mind, Aranguiz reads the game brilliantly and transfers his thoughts to his teammates with aplomb. When in possession, it is extremely hard to take the ball off him. Aranguiz is the perfect example for a ‘box-to-box midfielder’.
Weakness: One thing which Aranguiz lacks in is his application. He tends to start the game poorly and takes time to settle down. He possesses this bad-boy South American attitude of committing reckless challenges on his opponents, thus earning himself a surplus amount of yellow cards. Aranguiz’ aerial abilities are not the greatest either. Opponents can overpower him with ease whenever the ball travels in air.
Career High: Winning the 2015 Copa America with Chile and being nominated for the coveted ‘Player of the Tournament’ award. The 2-0 win over Spain in the World Cup made Aranguiz a household name in Chile football.
Career Low: Being sidelined due to injury for eight months from August 2015 after tearing his left Achilles tendon in a practise session.
Copa America 2016:
Chile are placed in Group D along with Panama, Bolivia and South American powerhouse, Argentina.
With the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Arturo Vidal, Claudio Bravo and Charles Aranguiz, Chile definitely has the firepower to dismantle any team on their day. However, they lack in consistency. Bravo is not one of the most dependable keepers out there and Alexis Sanchez tends to lose his way every once in a while. Other than Gary Medel, Chile don't have a lot of firepower in defence. The only way for them to win games is to score, score and keep scoring goals.
With the likes of Charles Aranguiz and Arturo Vidal at the heart of their midfield, ‘La Roja’ have a big chance of retaining the Copa America trophy, only for the third time in the tournament’s history.