Alexis Alejandro Sánchez (Spanish pronunciation: [aˈleksis ˈsantʃes]; born 19 December 1988), known as Alexis Sánchez or simply Alexis, is a Chilean professional footballer who plays as a forward for English club Arsenal and the Chilean national team.
Born in Tocopilla, Sánchez was product of Cobreloa prolific youth ranks where he was teammate of current national team players like Charles Aránguiz and Eduardo Vargas. In February 2005, he was promoted to the senior first team by manager Nelson Acosta. His debut against Deportes Temuco in February and his first professional goal in a 2–1 over Deportes Concepción on 18 March, allowed him play his first Copa Libertadores game against Once Caldas aged 16, which made him one of the youngest players on debut for the tournament.
After an impressive season with Cobreloa, Sánchez caught the attention of Udinese who signed him for a £ 1.7 million fee, on 21 April 2006. However, Udinese began a maturation project with Alexis and loaned him to Chilean giants Colo-Colo in a season-long deal.
Sánchez debuted for Colo-Colo on 23 June 2006 in a 1–1 draw with Antofagasta and his first goal came on 29 October during the Chilean football derby against Universidad de Chile in a 4–2 win. His well
performances allowed him break into the starting lineup after successfully challenging veteran striker Mario Cáceres, so that began partnering Humberto Suazo in the forward.
After a successful season in Argentina, Sánchez left South America in July 2008 to join Udinese, where he would meet up with Chilean compatriot Mauricio Isla .Sánchez made his non-competitive debut in a 3–0 win over Bassano and was named the man of match. On 14 September, he played his first game in Serie A in a 1–0 loss with Juventus and four days later, he made his European debut against Borussia Dortmund. On 19 October 2008, Sánchez scored his first league goal against Lecce. After this first goal, Sánchez got into a minor slump, in which he took much criticism. The criticism ended after scoring the winning goal in the 90th minute against Bologna in a 1–0 win, being named the man of match.
On 20 July 2011, Barcelona of the Spanish La Liga confirmed they had agreed to a €26 million fee (including €11.5 million in certain bonuses) with Udinese for the transfer of Sánchez, becoming the first Chilean to play for the club. “Sánchez is very young,” said then-manager Pep Guardiola. “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.” The transfer was finalised five days later when he passed a medical and signed a five-year contract. “I want to learn from players like Lionel Messi and Xavi Hernández; I want to help the club win more titles,” said Sánchez.
On 10 July 2014, Sánchez signed for Arsenal on a long-term contract for an undisclosed fee, reported to be around £35 million. Sánchez was given the squad number 17, previously worn by Nacho Monreal, who took the vacant number 18 instead – but now wears the shirt number 7 left by Tomas Rosicky. In a statement released by the club, Sánchez said that he was “so happy to be joining Arsenal, a club which has a great manager, a fantastic squad of players, huge support around the world and a great stadium in London.”
Sánchez has been a full international for Chile since 2006, and has earned 93 caps, making him the team’s second-most capped player of all time after goalkeeper Claudio Bravo. With 31 goals, he is their joint-third top-scorer of all time. He played in two FIFA World Cups (2010 and 2014) as well as the 2011, 2015 and 2016 Copa América tournaments, winning both the 2015 and 2016 Copa. He was named the player of the tournament for the 2016 Copa centurion.