By Akingbesote, Omotayo Temi
Rising to the pinnacle of any and every endeavor is undoubtedly at the top of every human’s ‘goal list’. And talents that have decided to create a path in the game of soccer are not excluded from this trend.
One notable player who has over the years created a niche for himself and worked his way into the hearts of soccer lovers is definitely ALEXIS ALEJANDRO SANCHEZ, the Chilean professional footballer with a mastered right foot and expertise on the left wing.
Sanchez started his career as a youth player for Cobreloa at age 17 in 2004, where he made 47 appearances and scored 12 goals during his first season at the club.
Shortly after, he moved to Italy where he played for the Serie A club Udinese in 2006.
The sturdy Chilean’s high tempo, pace, agility, swiftness, great eyes for goal and an overall entertaining style of play caught the attention and endearment of spectators. While at Udinese, he made 95 appearances and scored 20 goals.He moved on to win his first trophies in the following seasons, also winning consecutive league titles.
In a loan triangle that saw him move from Udinese to Colo-colo in 2006-2007 where he made 32 appearances and scored 5 goals, to River Plate in 2007-2008 where he recorded 4 goals in 32 appearances and back to Udinese 2008- 2010 where he grafted his way to the top by becoming one of the most sort out players in the team. He recorded three fantastic seasons on his return to Udinese.
In 2011, Alexis Sanchez got what can unarguably be described as his big break when Pep Guardiola who at that time was the coach of Spanish giants and one of the leading football clubs in Europe, Barcelona indicated interest in him and went on to sign him from Udinese in a transfer bid worth 26 million pounds, making Sanchez the most expensive Chilean player of all time.
At Camp Nou, the fiery winger did not fail to maintain status quo as he was instrumental in a team that had Messi, Suarez and Neymer. He won the Copa Del Rey, Super Copa De Espana ,Uefa Super Cup and also La Liga in 2012-2013.
He made 88 appearances at Barcelona and scored a total of 39 goals.
Alexis is a patriotic Chilean and was part of the Chilean National team for the under 20 tournament in 2006-2008 where he scored 4 impressive goals.
So far, he has earned 130 caps, making him the Chilean National team’s current most capped player of all times. Having scored 43 goals for his country, he is currently Chile’s all-time leading goal scorer.
He has represented his country in two editions of the FIFA World Cup competition, four editions of FIFA Confederations Cup.
It worthy to note that his decisive well taken penalty went a long way in helping Chile to clinch their first international silverware at the Final of the 2015 Copa America where they defeat a star laden Argentine side in a head to head penalty scoreline of 4-1. Sanchez’s influence to the Chilean national team both as captain, leader and game winner can never be over emphasized.
The move to Barcelona and his performance pulled a deserving world attention to the pacey winger, as top clubs in other leagues started making moves to get his signature and hand him a shirt.
After spending three years spent at Barca, Alexis decided it was time for something new and a deal worth over 31.7 pounds saw him move to English side Arsenal were he was handed the the club’s treasured number 7 Jersey in 2016 and his prominence grew.
Upon his arrival at Arsenal, he quickly became an instrumental part of Arsene Wenger’s North London team, playing vital roles in club’s FA Cup and community Shield victories in 2015 and 2017.
With 60 goals in 122 appearances, Sanchez was no doubts one of the modern day Arsenal team’s most celebrated players.
Sanchez made headlines again in January 2018 when he joined one of Arsenal’s premier league arch rivals, Manchester United in a swap deal worth over 300,000.00 pounds per week which saw Mkhitaryan’s move to Arsenal for as well.
Joining Manchester United made Sanchez premier league’s highest earner. He was handed United famous and Iconic jersey number 7 jersey upon his arrival.
Expectations were high judging by his past records, but eyes began to roll when he was unable to command the authority of the Number 7 following his unprecedented poor match displays and statics on match as well as an inexplicable goal draught which saw him score not more that 5 goals in 32 appearances for the club.
The fiery Chilean right footed clinical finisher who had wrecked havoc on defenders in every stage of his career soon hit a decline which saw him seat on virtually every seat behind the pitch, embark on ‘soul finding vacations’, along side being completely sidelined.
After a year characterized majorly by terrible missed goal opportunities, injuries, incessant holidays and a brewing frustration at Old Trafford, the club’s feelings towards Sanchez was made clear after an initial agreement to loan the forward to AS Roma, but the Chilean player refused, but later accepted an offer to be loaned to the Italian Inter Milan until June 2020 and this contract does not include an option to be bought.
The unanswered questions has been, What happened to the Chilean assassin? How did the once feared and dangerous attack force lose his shine? How did Sanchez move from a first team regular influential player to a sidelined, rarely used winger?
Could his withdrawn attitude amongst his team mates, and his incessant injuries have birthed his sudden, drastic heartbreaking decline performance???
These and so many more have been the thoughts of most soccer faithfuls.
Though Alexis Sanchez won’t go down in history as the first top player to experience a fall in his career, because a lot have come before him, the world of football is however, hoping that he won’t be one of those who weren’t able to find their spark and are watching to see what his return to Italy has in store for him and everyone.