Chile midfielder Arturo Vidal denied on Thursday that he reinjured his knee in training in Japan earlier this week.
The South American nation’s planned friendly with Japan was cancelled on Thursday after an earthquake struck the island of Hokkaido.
Reports on Wednesday alleged that the 31-year-old suffered discomfort in his knee during a training session in Sapporo and thus skipped on-field training, but the Chile federation denied any such injury, saying that he completed “most of the exercises.”
Vidal himself told Chile media such reports were unfounded.
“I heard a lot of things and they are all untrue. There is nothing wrong with me,” Vidal said. “I left before the on-field training to rest after the long trip, I went into the gym and rode the stationary bicycle, but I did the training as usual. It was a 24-hour trip and training on top of that is not easy, but everything is fine.”
A powerful earthquake caused a massive paralysis of Sapporo’s infrastructure network, leaving commuters stranded and Chile federation officials said they were looking for ways to leave Japan despite the fact that the airport remained closed.
The host city, on Japan’s northernmost main island of Hokkaido, experienced dozens of landslides on Thursday that crushed houses under torrents of dirt, rocks and timber, prompting frantic efforts to unearth any survivors.
At least seven people were killed, more than 290 injured and nearly three million households left without power after the magnitude 6.7 earthquake jolted residents from their beds at 3:08 a.m.
The quake was the latest in an exhausting run of natural disasters for Japan, which have immobilised trains and airports and shut down phone systems.
Vidal said that despite the lack of running water and electricity, the team was safe and sound.
“We really don’t know anything about what has happened in Japan. We just felt the earthquake last night, but it is over. We are fine and a little bored, but that is part of it. We felt how strong the earthquake was, we were all sleeping. These are things that happen in life,” he said.
“It is important for everyone to know that we are all fine, nothing has happened to us, it was more of a scare than anything else,” he said. “Now we must wait for tomorrow so that the problem can be solved and so that we can all travel to the places we need to go.”