Alexis Sanchez: Player Profile

Barcelona’s Faith In Sanchez Paying Off

Personal information
Full Name: Alexis Alejandro Sanchez
Date of birth: 19 December 1988
Age: 25
Place of birth:  Tocopilla, Chile
Height: 1.69 m (5 ft 7 in)
Playing position: Forward/Winger

Club information
Current Club: Barcelona
Number: 9

Youth career
2004–2005: Cobreloa

Senior career
2005–2006: Cobreloa, 50 Appearances, 12 goals
2006–2011: Udinese, 112 Appearances, 21 goals
2006–2007: Colo-Colo (loan) 48 Appearances, 9 goals
2007–2008: River Plate (loan) 31 Appearances, 4 goals
2011– Barcelona, 110 Appearances, 37 goals

National team
2007 Chile U20, 12 Appearances, 2 goals
2006– Chile, 64 Appearances, 22 goals

Alexis Sanchez may very well be the comeback story of the season. After a severely disappointing year last season, the Chilean has become one of Barcelona’s most consistent and important players.

His latest three-goal masterpiece against Elche on Sunday was yet another indicator of what he can really do. Fans were ready to give up on the 25-year-old last year, which made logical sense.

However, Barcelona refused to give up hope in Sanchez, who has since repaid the club with spectacular performances.

Every player needs competition to be successful. It is hard to find a great player in today’s game who doesn’t have someone else pushing him to be even better. Such is the case with Alexis Sanchez.

This season the Chilean has had to compete with Neymar, Pedro and Cristian Tello for a starting spot. It is safe to say that the competition has brought out the best in Sanchez.

In fact, Sanchez has seemed to put on his best displays when Pedro has been on the field at the same time.

The 25-year-old knows that he has to fight hard to keep his place in the starting lineup. A dip in form would likely see him relegated to the bench, and thus Sanchez has done everything needed to keep that starting role.

It seems as though the best of Sanchez has been brought out when you least expect it. The negative outlook by fans brought on a great end to last season, and he has simply picked up where he left off.

Another thing that has played a major role in Alexis Sanchez finding his best form is that he is now comfortable and familiar with his surroundings at Barcelona.

This is his third season at the Catalan club, and the learning curve is now gone. Sanchez knows what is expected of him and what being a player for Barcelona means. He has since responded well.

At the same time, Sanchez was shown love by the club when they refused to give up on him. Barcelona could have cashed in on the Chilean last summer, but they continued to show Sanchez that they believed in him.

With Sanchez feeling that his place at Barcelona was safe, he could simply focus on playing football. The external rumors and conflicts would not bother him as he knew what the club thought. Being comfortable is something every player needs.

Last year was tough for every winger at Barcelona as former manager Tito Vilanova struggled to find his best lineup. Andres Iniesta, David Villa, Pedro, Sanchez and Cristian Tello all played significantly on the wings, and it was often hard to determine who was the first option.

This year, that isn’t the case. Alexis Sanchez has been a consistent starter since day one, and that consistency of being on the pitch in the same position in most games has allowed him to find his rhythm.

Sanchez’s role was often changing last year, and that affected him and others in a big way. Sanchez now has the opportunity to make the right wing his own. With continued stellar play in the starting lineup, you can bet that Sanchez will see even more minutes, which can only be good for his ever-improving form.

Sanchez is playing with confidence, and that makes the biggest difference. Last season, you could see the worry on his face. Sanchez gave everything he had on the pitch, but nothing seemed to go his way, and it affected him.

It was easy to get discouraged, and it was clear that it was slowly happening. However, as the end of the season came closer, Sanchez began to score a few goals, and his confidence immediately went up.

Then when the new season started, he was able to add even more confidence with every match. Success has brought Sanchez the confidence he needed to break out of his shell and be the player that he has always showed that he could be.

It is confidence that he needed the whole time, and now he has it. Sanchez has managed to score 11 goals this season while also giving four assists. He is showing the fans and proving to the team why he is so valued. If he keeps this form up, everything points to continued success for the Chilean.