As the fight between Manchester City’s Claudio Bravo and the Chilean national team goes on, the best people to comment on this story are those who have nothing to lose.
This is the case of Alex Whiteley, who has been the goalkeeping coach for the past couple of years, but has left the job due to disagreements with the ANFP.
The former goalkeeper has given an interview to Chilean newspaper El Mercurio this week, and although the national team was the main focus, almost everything he said had something to do with Claudio Bravo.
Alex Whiteley and Reinaldo Rueda started working at Chile right at the time when Bravo made some heavy criticism of the staff, and that was an unexpected blow from the Manchester City player.
“Yes, it was hard because Reinaldo was just taking charge and we found this problem,” Whiteley told El Mercurio. “And for me it was clearly due to a lack of communication. Bravo’s statements were unfortunate and he has to admit it. Basically, he had some reasons, but he was wrong in the way of doing it. There is a pending issue, but I hope and wish that Claudio could return to the team.”
“It was a hot statement, he always told me he was happy with my work. He told me he never named me and has nothing against me. I found it very strange because it put them all in the same bag. In the national team there’s very little time to work, but the results obtained are obvious: both Cententenario Cup the Confederations Cup and he came out as best goalkeeper.”
On the fact Bravo criticised the weight of goalkeeper coach José Ovalle, Whiteley said: “Claudio was wrong, the physical structure of a person doesn’t have to do with their ability, and broke the codes of football. It is never too late to apologise, because for me Claudio is the best, or one of the best in Chilean history and I would not like his career at La Roja to end with him going out the window.”
On the chances of the Manchester City player returning to the national team, or even playing the Copa America later this year, the coach says it will depend on the conversations with Reinaldo Rueda.
“They say time heals everything, but if there isn’t a transparent and clear conversation between Bravo, Rueda and ANFP, it will be difficult for him to come back. Everyone has to take a bath of humility and think of a single target, it is the good of the Chilean national team. It will be difficult, but I think it is possible.
“I would love that he plays, but I don’t know if he comes because of his injury, I imagine that Reinaldo is going to wait for Claudio Bravo to be competing to take him in. I, with him playing or not, would take him anyway, because of everything he brings in. But I don’t know if he is physically and footballing ready to take on a competition as tough as the Copa America.”