This morning, Valdivia met with Brazilian journalists for the first time since the express kidnapping suffered precisely a week ago. Valdivia, pale and haggard, used a little more than an hour to explain details about the incident and the constant death threats he and his wife Daniela Aráguiz received during the approximately three hours they spent in the hands of the armed criminal.
Valdivia’s wife has, according to Valdivia, no intention of returning to Brazil. Valdivia himself, upon receiving straightforward questions from the journalists, said he was in no condition to define his future at this point. Recognising that he has obligations to fulfil and a contract to honour, he said that he would come and train, talk to people and try to get his head straight. He also repeatedly said he’d try to convince his wife to return.
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My reading is that Valdivia would like to stay in Brazil and that he’s willing to give it a try. He will see the psychologist provided by Palmeiras but said he’d do without the bodyguard, claiming that he’s under no more threat than before and that what happened was an isolated incident.
The main problem – apart from the trauma – is the physical separation of the family. A year back Valdivia’s marriage was going through a major crisis due to leaked pictures of him snogging with another woman, but apparently things have been sorted out, with Valdivia and Daniela now being closer than ever. If Valdivia can’t convince Daniela to return, chances of him staying in Brazil are slim (he’s already ruled out going back and forth to Chile on frequent visits).
For Valdivia to recover and make up his mind we might have to wait. In the meantime, interesting offers might materialise, tempting Palmeiras to cut their losses and sell or loan Valdivia to a team from a country acceptable to Daniela. Stay tuned for further developments.