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Chile’s Vidal in court for crashing Ferrari

17 June 2015, 19:39

Santiago - Chilean football star Arturo Vidal appeared in court Wednesday after crashing his Ferrari and being arrested for drunk driving, risking potential suspension from the Copa America, where he is currently the leading scorer.

After spending the night in jail, the Juventus midfielder was brought to a court in Santiago, the Chilean capital, where dozens of fans had gathered outside.

"The charge... is driving while drunk," prosecutor Luis Pedro Cortes told journalists.

Officials have not disclosed how much alcohol the player had in his blood.

Vidal, 28, does not face jail time because only he and his wife, Maria Teresa Matus, were injured.

Under Chile's zero tolerance law on drunk driving, he could have his license suspended for up to two years.

It is unclear whether he will be allowed to continue playing in the Copa America, or face punishment by the Chilean team, whose hopes of winning their first South American championship on home soil are riding largely on him.

Vidal's red Ferrari collided with another car late Tuesday on the outskirts of Santiago as he and his wife drove home from a casino, according to Chilean media reports.

Also read: Juve sweat over Vidal, Tevez

Photos from the scene showed his car with both airbags deployed and badly mangled on the driver's side.

Vidal posted a video message on YouTube to proclaim his innocence.

"Today, I had a car accident. It was not my fault. I'm fine, my family's fine. Thank you for everything," he said, giving a thumbs up.

Vidal suffered "minor injuries" and his wife "moderately serious injuries," police Colonel Ricardo Gonzalez told reporters.

The footballer and his wife were briefly taken to hospital. Vidal was then escorted out by police and carted off to jail in the back of a police car.

- Fireworks on pitch and off -

The combative player is no stranger to controversy.

In 2011, he was among five players excluded from Chile's squad preparing for World Cup qualifiers after they turned up for training late and drunk.

He was welcomed back to the fold after apologizing.

This season, Juventus imposed a club record $112,000 fine after Vidal was allegedly involved in a drunken brawl outside a Turin nightclub.

The Chilean team management now face a tough decision on what to do with Vidal, who is known as "King Arturo" to adoring fans at home and "The Warrior" at Juventus because of his tough style of play.

Vidal is currently the top scorer in the Copa America, which kicked off Thursday and wraps up with the final match on July 4.

Vidal has found the back of the net three times in two games.

He hit a penalty in Chile's opening victory against Ecuador and two more goals in Monday's 3-3 draw with Mexico in Santiago -- just 24 hours before his accident.

The team were given Tuesday off by coach Jorge Sampaoli after Monday's game.

Chile are top of Group A and meet Bolivia in their final first-round match on Friday.

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