The Roja boss reserved words of praise for the shotstopper after he helped his side reach the Confederations Cup semi-final
Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi hailed the influence of the returning Claudio Bravo after his side squeezed through to the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup on Sunday.
Manchester City goalkeeper Bravo made his first appearance since sustaining an injury in the derby clash with Manchester United on April 27 and made several important saves as the South American champions came back to claim a 1-1 draw with Australia and book a last-four clash against Portugal.
Bravo endured a miserable first season in the Premier League but his importance to the national team cannot be underestimated.
Pizzi said: “Every player needs time to get used to a tournament, it was hard for me as a player when I had a long period out, but he managed. He’s an incredible professional and has worked hard to recover. He played a great game.
“For us, it’s important to have Claudio here, he’s a model for his team-mates because he’s a great football player and an amazing human being.
“It’s not necessary to say he’s one of the best goalkeepers in the world, his career has been very impressive.”
Pizzi also praised Australia for a fine display in which they neutralised Chile’s usual high-energy performance with an aggressive approach and it needed a second-half strike from Martin Rodriguez to cancel out James Troisi’s opener and put La Roja through.
“The opponents were excellent,” added Pizzi. “They played very aggressive football, sometimes too aggressive. Normally when we challenge for the ball we are stronger but today our opponents were.
“We didn’t feel comfortable on the pitch, we couldn’t play our game, our opponents stopped us. They closed every door and were physical.
“There was huge pressure on us because everyone thought Chile would get to the next round because of the way we’ve been playing. We also know that Australia aren’t one of the best teams in the world so there was huge responsibility on us.
“I didn’t underestimate Australia at all. The level tonight was that of a World Cup quarter-final, it was very high. The main thing is we reached our objective. Now we need to think about Portugal.”
That game takes place on Wednesday in Kazan and Pizzi has enormous respect for Fernando Santos’ side.
“Portugal are a very difficult opponent, it’s tough to win the Euros and they are European champions,” he said.
“The Euros includes many of the best teams in the world, they have a great player who is very well known [Cristiano Ronaldo] and a coach who knows the team very well.
“They have amazing players so it’s going to be very difficult but it’s also going to be hard to play against us. We’ll go toe to toe and try to win.”