Who is Alexis Sanchez?
Alexis Sánchez is a Chilean professional footballer who plays as a forward for the English club ‘Manchester United’ and for the Chilean national football team. Born in Tocopilla, Chile, amidst extreme poverty, he started his football career with a local Chilean club, ‘Cobreloa’ and debuted for the national team at the age of 17. He exhibited great speed and presence of mind on the field, which led to him signing contracts with the European clubs ‘Udinese,’ ‘Barcelona,’ and ‘Arsenal.’ He was part of the “golden trio” of ‘Barcelona,’ alongside Lionel Messi and David Villa, which helped them win tournaments such as the ‘UEFA La Liga,’ the ‘Super Cup,’ and the ‘FIFA Club World Cup.’ After a long and successful haul with ‘Barcelona,’ he was replaced by Neymar and was transferred to ‘Arsenal.’ During his 2016–2017 season at ‘Arsenal,’ he outperformed every other star footballer from his team and scored 30 goals and 14 assists. Miffed with the direction and management of ‘Arsenal,’ he finally decided to move to the rival club ‘Manchester United.’ The deal was made official in January 2018. He led his national Chilean team to win the 2015 ‘Copa América’ and helped them reach the finals of the 2017 ‘FIFA Confederations Cup.’
Childhood & Early Life
Alexis Sánchez was born on December 19, 1988, in Tocopilla, Chile, to Gullermo Soto and Martina Sanchez. His father was looking for a job when Alexis was born, and his mother, who ran a small-scale business, was the breadwinner of the family. Tired of being unemployed for a long time, his father left their house. Alexis was a few months old then. He was raised by his mother.
The family had four children, and Martina, who did not earn much, had to work several jobs at a time to take care of her children. She barely managed to get the household going. Despite working very hard, she could not manage to feed her children. Soon, Alexis’ uncle, Jose Martinez, came ahead to adopt one of her children.
Jose adopted Alexis despite the fact that he did not earn much either. He told Martina that he could not afford to pay for Alexis’ education. A few years later, Jose told Alexis that he would have to start earning on his own if he wanted to live with him. However, impressed by Alexis’ love for football, Jose enrolled him at a football training academy.
Alexis did whatever he could to pay his fees at the academy. He did several odd jobs and performed acrobatics on the streets. He even had to beg for money and food once. Luis Astorga, a football club director, came ahead to help him in this crucial period. He ensured Alexis’ enrolment at his club, the ‘Cobreloa Football Club,’ which became the turning point in Alexis’ life. This act of kindness by Luis had Alexis working hard to ensure that he did not disappoint him.
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Alexis was promoted to the senior team of ‘Cobreloa’ in 2005, and at the age of 16, he became the youngest player to play in the ‘Copa Libertadores,’ a local tournament. Following his successful stint, ‘Colo-Colo,’ another major Chilean club, offered Alexis a one-season contract in 2006.
In the 2006 ‘Copa Sudamericana,’ Alexis played a major role in making his team the first runner-up, and in December 2006, he won his first professional title. In March 2007, he scored a hat-trick in a game against ‘Caracas’ in the ‘Copa Libertadores,’ which led his team to win 4–0. He further impressed everyone with his electrifying performance for his national team in the ‘Under-20 FIFA World Cup’ and joined ‘Udinese’ in July 2008.
In his debut non-competitive match against ‘Bassano,’ he was honored with the ‘Man of the Match’ title. Following a few more striking performances for ‘Udinese,’ users of ‘FIFA.com’ named him the most promising youngster of the 2011 season.
2011 turned out to be a breakthrough year for Alexis, as ‘Barcelona’ struck a deal with ‘Udinese’ to bring Alexis into their team. Hence, Alexis was about to become the first Chilean player to play for ‘Barcelona.’ In August 2011, he made his ‘Premier League’ debut against ‘Real Madrid.’ However, his first season with them was marred by many injuries, which kept Alexis away from the field on many crucial occasions.
The next season was not too great either, and injuries and other reasons gave Alexis very few chances to appear on the field. ‘Barcelona,’ however, won the league title, and Alexis ended his league season with eight goals, which was an above-par performance. In January 2014, he scored a hat-trick against ‘Elche,’ leading his team to a victory. However, it was too late, and ‘Barcelona’ had already decided to let him go.
He was then purchased by ‘Arsenal,’ and on August 10, 2014, he made his competitive debut against ‘Manchester City’ and played a major role in securing a 3–0 win. On August 27, he scored his first goal for ‘Arsenal.’ By the end of the season, he was the only player from ‘Arsenal’ to be included in the ‘PFA Team of the Year.’
The 2015–16 ‘Premier League’ started on a negative note for Alexis, as he remained goal-less in his first 10 matches. However, he scored a hat-trick in the eleventh game. He is the only player who has scored hat-tricks in ‘Serie A,’ ‘Serie B,’ and ‘La Liga.’ This season was also plagued with injuries, but Alexis played sufficiently well to remain with the team.
In the 2016–2017 season, he won his team’s ‘Player of the Season’ award ’ scored the opening goal for ’their ‘FA Cup’ final win against ‘Chelsea.’ Thus, his contribution led ‘Arsenal’ to set a record for the most ‘FA Cup’ wins. The next season, he was transferred to ‘Manchester United’ and became the first Chilean player to join the team.
Alexis was part of the Chilean ‘Under-20’ team that ended its run at the third place at the ‘FIFA Under 20 World Cup’ in 2007. He played for his national team in the ‘2014 World Cup’ and the ‘2015 Copa América’ too. His team’s ‘Copa América’ title win was Chile’s first major football title win ever.
In 2016, he was part of the Chilean squad for the ‘Copa América Centenario,’ where his team defended their title. He played a good role in his team reaching the finals against Argentina. Alexis scored the final goals which translated into Chile defending its title successfully. Alexis was selected to be the recipient of the ‘Golden Ball’ award, which is awarded to the best player of the tournament.
Alexis Sanchez has dated many film and TV personalities from South America. In 2009, he started dating TV personality Faloon Larraguibel. The couple broke up a year later. Subsequently, Alexis dated Roxana Munoz, Tamara Primus, and Michelle Carvalho. However, his current relationship with Laia Grassi has been going strong since 2014, and there have been rumors that the couple is already married.
Alexis is a major celebrity in Chile. His hometown, Tocopilla, has erected a statue in his honor.