Manchester United superstar and Chile’s ever-dynamic hero, Alexis Sánchez, spent his less than dynamic formative years in the poor industrial town of Antofagasta, Chile. He raised by a devoted mother, who tirelessly worked numerous jobs (cleaning jobs and selling fish) to essentially make ends meet to support her then eight-year-old son. Sánchez dreamed night and day of one day becoming a professional footballer.
Sánchez subsequently joined Universidad Catolica the same year. Two years thereafter, a mere disillusioned, and then tactically naíve, Sánchez moved back home to the city of Antofagast – a jaded industrial town affectionately known as ‘Devil’s Corner’.
Antofagast exudes an undulating landscape underscored with incessant mountains, jagged cliffs, high pollution, rocky roads and evident poverty. Antofagast was unceremoniously struck by an earthquake in 2007, which ultimately destroyed the humble abodes of Sánchez’s mother and aunt.
Sánchez seemingly grew up rapidly fast during adolescence due to the fact that his father sadly exited prior to his birth in 1988, thus the child prodigy subsequently assisting both his mother and beloved sisters during years thereafter; Sánchez’s father-like figure uncle, José Delaigue (who legally adopted Sánchez), died of cancer six years ago.
Sánchez would additionally wash cars for so-so material gain as a child given that monetary wasn’t particularly easy to attain for his modest working class family, whilst ultimately funding a consuming dream along the way unknowingly.
Furthermore, during childhood, the prodigious Sánchez would frequently compete in soccer games bare footed, running nimbly and cautiously whilst avoiding rocks throughout street soccer games in his beloved hometown.
Moreover, the mayor of Antofagasta (25,000 population) provided Sánchez with his first-ever pair of soccer cleats aged fifteen. The Chilean routinely loaned cleats from friends, schools and teammates prior to being rewarded with a pair by the mayor of Antofagasta.
When Sánchez joined Chilean powerhouse Colo-Colo, he decidedly built a brand new house for his mother and sisters. Even today, Sánchez’s living legend demi-God status in his hometown is accentuated with vividly illuminating graffiti art in his likeness, advertising billboards promoting the superstar Chilean, and an array of photos of Sánchez distributed around the 25,000 populated city.
During school years, the talented Chilean would undertake truancy from class on a variety of occassions, primarily due to the precocious reputation and prodigious talent that Sánchez strongly exhibited in soccer throughout Antofagasta – Sánchez’s mother incidentally worked as a janitor at the school her son attended.
In Chile, die-hard soccer aficionados grossly sport Manchester United replica shirts bearing Alexis’ name, alongside the trademark number seven emblazoned on the back of the popular Red Devils jersey.
Manchester United’s sacred and divine number seven jersey has been sported previously by Cristiano Ronaldo, David Beckham, Eric Cantona, Bryan Robson and George Best, all of whom are Manchester United legends.
Despite attaining vast fortune and renowned fame, Sánchez – known as Ninó Maravilla (Wonder kid) – is tremendously reserved and relatively shy, hence living a low-key routine that includes refraining from public events and A-list nightlife, whilst not expressing a fine interest in speaking with media internationally.
Conversely, Sánchez has let his impressive skills and memorable goals in the beautiful game universally do the talking. However, Sánchez’s ever-growing incredible journey and legacy has been nothing short of miraculous in hindsight. From Santiago to Buenos Aires, via Udine to Barcelona all the way to Holloway, north London all the way to Manchester.
Sánchez continues to live and proudly cherish an elusive childhood dream that many in the sport take for granted. Arsenal’s second biggest business acquisition in decorated team history (after Mesut Ozil) unquestionably delivered on promise to rabid observers of the English Premier League, his loving family, and above all else – himself. During the Chilean’s time at the Emirates Stadium, Sánchez won the F.A Cup twice, as well as the F.A Community Shield.
During Sánchez’s successful tenure with FC Barcelona, the talented forward was a member of the Catalan giants glory in La Liga (2012-2013), coupled alongside two triumphs in the Copa del Rey (2011-2012), Supercopa de Espana (2011, 2013), UEFA Super Cup (2011) and FIFA Club World Cup (2011). Sánchez is also a two-time Copa América champion (2015, 2016) with Chile.
However, The Theater of Dreams (Old Trafford) welcomed Sánchez as its latest world class acquisition in January 2018 thereafter Manchester United traded Henrikh Mkhitaryan for the Chilean superstar in a blockbuster deal.
Paul Pogba, Juan Mata, Romelu Lukaku, Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford, David de Gea, Anthony Martial, Ander Herrera, Nemanja Matic, Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young are among the vast quality players which José Mourinho’s Manchester United have in abundance; José Mourinho guided Manchester United to UEFA Europa League and EFL Cup triumphs in the 2016-2017 season.
With Sánchez, the 13-time English Premier League Champions optimistically look forward to a prosperous future as they look to wrestle back their crown as English Premier League title holders in the coming seasons.
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(Photo Credit: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images Europe)