Arsenal and Chile‘s ever-dynamic hero Alexis Sánchez spent his less than dynamic formative years in the poor industrial town of Antofagasta, Chile 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 who dreamed night and day of one day becoming a professional soccer player; Alexis 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 Antofagasta; a jaded industrial town affectionately known as ‘Devil’s Corner’.
The town of Antofagasta exudes an undulating landscape underscored with incessant mountains, jagged cliffs, high pollution, rocky roads and evident poverty; Antofagasta was unceremoniously struck by an earthquake in 2007, which ultimately destroyed the humble abodes of Sánchez’s mother and aunt.
Alexis 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 then child prodigy subsequently assisting both his mother and beloved sisters during years thereafter; Alexis Sánchez’s father-like figure uncle, José Delaigue (who legally adopted Sánchez), died of cancer four years ago.
Alexis 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. In addition, Sánchez worked in industrial labor jobs such as working in mines in his homeland. Professional soccer was Alexis Sánchez‘s saving grace from poverty and working exploitatively in Chile for 15 hours each day.
Furthermore, during childhood, Alexis Sánchez would frequently compete in games bare footed, running nimbly and cautiously 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 boots aged fifteen; Alexis Sánchez routinely loaned boots from friends, schools and teammates prior to being rewarded a pair of boots by the mayor of the town of Antofagasta.
When Alexis Sánchez joined Chilean powerhouse Colo-Colo, he decidedly built a brand new house for his mother and sisters. Even today, Alexis Sánchez’s living legend demi-God status in his hometown is accentuated with graffiti art in his likeness, advertising billboards and an array of photos of the Arsenal and Chile superstar 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, Chile; Alexis Sánchez’s mother incidentally worked as a janitor at the school her son attended.
In Chile, die-hard soccer aficionados grossly sport Arsenal replica shirts bearing Alexis’ name, alongside the trademark number seven emblazoned on the back of the popular Gunners jersey.
Despite attaining vast fortune and renowned fame via the beautiful game, Alexis Sánchez – affectionately known in his homeland 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, Alexis Sánchez has let his impressive skills and memorable goals in the beautiful game universally do the talking.
However, Alexis 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, Alexis Sánchez continues to live and proudly cherish an elusive childhood dream that many in the sport take for granted.
Arsenal’s second biggest ever transfer fee acquisition in decorated team history (thereafter Germany‘s majestic playmaker Mesut Ozil joined Arsenal) has unquestionably delivered on promise to rabid observers of the English Premier League, Arsenal and Chile, his supportive family and above all else – himself.