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Alexis Sanchez: Barca's new face

Alexis Sanchez to play for Barcelona

Alexis Sanchez is on the cusp of becoming the first Chilean to turn out for Barcelona. Reigning European Champions Barcelona confirmed on Thursday that they have agreed to a deal to sign Alexis Sanchez from the Italian Serie A Club Udinese. The 22-year old Alexis Sanchez had been linked to move to several clubs including Premier League giants Manchester City and Chelsea. However, it is Barcelona which has succeeded to seal the deal for about 26 million euros. The deal also includes a 11.5 million euros performance related add-on’s for Udinese. The fact that Barcelona have signed a 5 year contract with the youngster shows their willingness to develop the youngster into a future star.

Alexis Sanchez had played in more than a hundred games for Udinese and played an instrumental role in the Serie A club’s qualification for the Champions League. He was also a member of the Chilean Football Team which reached the Quarter Final’s of the Copa America 2011 held in Argentina. On successfully signing the young Chilean, Barcelona’s Manager Pep Guardiola said,

”He’s very young. He can play in all three attacking positions, he shows intense defensive skills, he’s direct and from what I’ve been told, he’s a very nice kid.”

Sanchez during his time at Udinese

Alexis Sanchez started his football career as a youth player for the Chilean club Cobreloa. He became a professional and played for the same club for two years. But his football skills at the age of 16 prompted the Seria A Club Udinese to sign him for 3 million US dollars in the year 2006. However, he was immediately loaned out to Colo-Colo which was followed by another loan term at River Plate. This allowed Sanchez to mature as a footballer in conditions which were less demanding than Serie A. In 2008, Sanchez officially became a member of the Udinese football club by signing a 3 year deal. He made steady progress during his first two years as a Udinese player. However, it was the third season which brought the best out of him. He scored 12 goals in 33 appearances which earned him the Serie A Player Of The Season award for 2011. He also formed a formidable partnership with Italian striker Antonio Di Natale by scoring 39 goals between the two of them.

Sanchez as a Chilean player

Sanchez made his international debut in 2006 against New Zealand. Since then he has scored 14 goals in the 40 matches that he played as a Chilean player. He was also a part of the historic third placed finishing Chilean Team in the FIFA U-20 world cup in Canada in 2007. He played a decisive role in helping his national team qualify for the FIFA World Cup 2010 held in South Africa. He was a part of the Chilean Team that reached the round of 16 before losing out to Brazil 0-3. He was also an integral part of the Chile Team which ended up as quarterfinalists in Copa America 2011 by scoring 2 goals in the four games that he played.

In recognition of his achievements in 2011, Alexis Sanchez was also named as the World’s most promising youngster of the 2011 season.

Let’s hope that he can create some magic in the La Liga this year.

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