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Alexis Sanchez: 10 Amazing Facts Finally Revealed

London — Some players are born to play for Manchester United and Alexis Sanchez is one of them. The Chilean is on the brink of completing ...

London — Some players are born to play for Manchester United and Alexis Sanchez is one of them.

The Chilean is on the brink of completing his mega-money move to Manchester United as he and Henrikh Mkhitaryan push through their work permits.

He has been on quite a journey from his humble beginning in Tocopilla, but is now one of the most recognisable sportsmen on the entire planet.

Yet there is still plenty we are still to learn about this South American sensation.

1. Alexis Sanchez was born in Tocopilla in northern Chile, a city with 25 000 inhabitants. The main industries are fishing and mining, while it is known as the “city of energy” because it generates electricity for the region.

His brother Humberto said four years ago: “If Alexis wasn’t a footballer he would be working in the mines like most men around here.”
Alexis Sanchez

2. His nickname as a boy was “Dilla”, which is short for the Spanish “ardilla” meaning squirrel. Sanchez earned the name because it only took him seconds to climb trees or scale buildings to retrieve lost footballs during street games. He now has a street in Tocopilla named after him.

3. Sanchez had humble beginnings. His father left shortly before he was born and his mother Martina sold fish to scrape a living. When Sanchez was playing for Cobreloa aged 16, Martina was fined $1 000 for selling fish without a licence. She could not afford it so Sanchez was put in touch with agent Fernando Felicevich, who bought his registration and settled the debt.

4. He is quite literally a road runner. While at Udinese in Italy, he once drove into town for a shopping trip only to lose his keys. Instead of asking for a lift, he ran the four miles back home to get a spare set before running back to his car. No wonder his pace terrifies defenders!

5. Despite signing for Manchester United and not their rivals City, Sanchez holds his former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola in high esteem. He once said of the City manager: “Guardiola made me feel like a Ferrari.”

Guardiola returned the compliment, once saying after Barcelona beat Real Madrid at the Bernabeu: “Alexis has stolen my heart — our hearts. He has arrived here with the excitement of a kid and hasn’t let that go. His courage is remarkable.”

6. He did not get his first pair of football boots until he was 15. The local mayor, who supported Sanchez’s team Arauco, gave him a pair of Reeboks. Before then, Sanchez’s mother borrowed boots for the games he played.

Sanchez said: “I was so excited that I wore them on the pavement, even though they had studs and were made for grass.” Playing barefoot in the street is the secret to his explosive style, with Sanchez saying: “Playing barefoot gave me my style, running with little jumps, because I was dodging rocks.”

7. Sanchez is Tocopilla’s very own Father Christmas. He has been known to give out presents while standing on the back of a truck with his friends at the local yuletide fair and has sent gifts and clothes to his old school.

8. Aged just 17 when he made his international debut against New Zealand in 2006, Sanchez is the youngest player to be capped by Chile. He has since become the country’s all-time record scorer with 39 goals.

9. Also moving to Manchester will be his dogs Atom and Humber. Sanchez has created an Instagram account for his pooches and has taken them to training. Whether Atom and Humber are given their own banner at Old Trafford as they were at the Emirates remains to be seen.

10. Sanchez is no stranger to the big stage . . . so it is appropriate that he wants to be an actor when he retires. He said: “It’s why I try to make an effort in the ads I shoot. It’d be a dream to appear in the movies, either as a detective — you know, a smart chap, well-dressed, pistol, cool attitude — or as one of those lads who works at NASA and knows about everything.”

Manchester United and Arsenal expect to announce confirmation of the swap deal over the next 24 hours but the biggest obstacle is the re-issuing of the permits. Basic weekly wage: £350,000.

This is the highest basic wage of any player in the Premier League. Manchester United have four of the top six earners in terms of basic weekly wage with Paul Pogba on £290,000, Romelu Lukaku on £250,000 and Zlatan Ibrahimovic on £220,000.

Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure also earn £220,000. Image rights: £100,000 a week Bonuses: £144,000 a week — Mailonline.

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