Alexis Sanchez

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Alexis Sanchez secures win for Chile over Ecuador

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Chile wasn’t exactly at its attacking best they displayed against Japan in the opener, but it got the job done as Alexis Sanchez and Jose Fuenzalida provided the firepower in a 2-1 win over Ecuador. The three points moved Chile into sole possession of the lead in Group C and secured a spot in the knockout stage for the defending champions.

The game had an edge from the opening whistle as Sebastian Mendez, newly installed into the Ecuador midfield after riding the bench for the opening loss to Uruguay, received a third minute yellow card for barging through the back of Charles Aranguiz. That spurred Chile on and they opened the scoring before the 10-minute mark, the second early goal Ecuador has conceded in its two Copa America matches.

Fuenzalida was the man to finish it off as a corner swung in and the ball pinged around the box until it rolled out to the 34-year-old where he fired a shot that found the inside of the far post. It put Ecuador behind early again after they shipped a sixth-minute opener to Nicolas Lodeiro and Uruguay a few days ago.

The game ground to a halt past the 20-minute mark as Chile settled in with the lead, but Ecuador found a moment with Chile a bit too relaxed. With Jefferson Orejuela on the ball in midfield and staring at acres of space down the middle, he burst forward and lofted a ball over the top to Romario Ibarra. The Minnesota United frontman lifted his leg up to tap the ball out of the air and to his teammate Mendez charging into the box. With Gary Medel left in Mendez’s wake, Chile goalkeeper Gabriel Arias came out of net and looked to smother the chance but instead chopped down Mendez and the referee awarded the clear penalty. Enner Valencia stepped up and blasted the ball through for Ecuador’s first goal of the tournament, leveling the game at 1-1.

In a tournament marred by constant VAR controversies, the problems continued as the referee initially gave nothing for a clear dive by Romario Ibarra under pressure from Arias. In a replay review that took nearly five minutes, the referee decided to change his decision and give a yellow card to Arias instead of carding Ibarra for simulation. All in all, it was the first yellow for Arias after he was not cautioned for the penalty earlier – which he should have been – so the farcical VAR booking thankfully did not see him sent off.

The second half started drab, but Chile bided its time and grabbed the lead in the 51st minute as an Aranguiz cross came in from the end line right of net and sailed the scrum in front of goal, only to fall at the back post where Alexis Sanchez was waiting. The Manchester United attacker delivered a pinpoint volley that chipped Ecuador goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez and found the top-right corner.

Both sides had chances after Chile went ahead, but the defending champions looked more likely to score. Erick Pulgar nearly put Chile 3-1 up in the 65th minute but his bullet header off a corner was athletically saved by Dominguez with a diving stop to keep the ball from sneaking in under the crossbar. With time winding down, Ecuador’s job became monumental after Gabriel Achilier was sent off with a straight red card after a stray forearm caught Arturo Vidal in the head on an aerial challenge, and the referee immediately had his decision made.

Ecuador had little left to offer as Chile successfully saw out the game and picked up its second win of the group stage, securing a spot in the next round and eliminating Ecuador. Chile will round out the group stage with a match against Uruguay that will mean something for their opponents who have not yet secured a spot in the knockouts after slipping to a draw with Japan.

Report: Man United to pay Alexis Sanchez $15 million a season to leave

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Alexis Sanchez has already apologized for his form at Manchester United, and it seems he will now be leaving Old Trafford.

But there’s a catch: United will have to pay him close to $15.5 million a season for him not to play for them.

Yep, that’s right.

Sanchez, 30, is reportedly wanted by Inter Milan on loan for next season, as the Chilean scored just one Premier League goal in his first full season at Old Trafford as he struggled to get into the team.

Multiple injuries curtailed any chance he had of getting back to his best form, and Sanchez is very much on the outside looking in as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer aims to dramatically rebuild his United squad this summer.

Sanchez signed a huge $645,000 per week contract in January 2018 and still has three more years left on that deal which saw him arrive from Arsenal in a swap deal with Henrikh Mkhitaryan. At the time it seemed like a very good deal (the eye watering numbers aside) as Sanchez had been one of the best players in the PL for multiple seasons and would give United’s attack a cutting edge with his driving runs and eye for goal.

He has never settled at Old Trafford.

Multiple reports state that Inter, who are on the verge of qualifying for the Champions League next season, is a likely destination for Sanchez and they would be willing to pay around half of his wages. Given Sanchez’s shocking form over the last 18 months, United would be lucky if a club was willing to pay that percentage of his wages. A return to Italy could suit Sanchez and help him rebuild his career after a horror last 18 months.

When a star player is out of form it is always an interesting dilemma for a club. Do you keep him around and hope he can provide something and regain his previous incredible form? Or do you take the hit, get half of his wages paid for and then hope somebody will sign him permanently if regular minutes solve his problems on the pitch?

The biggest issue for United is the problems Sanchez’s arrival has caused off the pitch.

Every single star at United (Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford and David De Gea to name a few) now wants to be paid somewhere close, or at least equal, to the wages their top earner, Sanchez, is on. That is the big issue here. Sanchez is earning the big bucks but is hardly playing. What type of message does that send out to the rest of the squad? In this situation it is better for United to take the $15.5 million hit, at least for next season, and move Sanchez out on loan if they can’t sell him permanently over the summer.

Nobody is going to want to pay Sanchez anywhere near what he is on at United, so it’s unlikely he will leave the lucrative deal he was handed in January 2018. A loan move beckons, as United’s recruitment policy will once again be rightly questioned and ridiculed.

Sanchez offers apology to Man United fans after disappointing season

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There’s no two ways about it. Manchester United’s highest-paid player had a dreadful 2018-2019 Premier League season.

[READ: Premier League Season Review, Part 1]

Due to a variety of issues, from injuries to a loss of form and confidence, Man United Alexis Sanchez went from one of the best player’s in the world while at Barcelona and Arsenal to a shadow of his former self, in the span of a few dozen months. This season, he only made nine starts in 20 Premier League appearances, his lowest league starting total since he was a youth player in Chile. Sanchez also only finished with one Premier League goal this year.

In response, Sanchez issued an apology on Instagram, stating he didn’t perform well due to injuries and that he was confident Man United can return to days of regular success it achieved under Sir Alex Ferguson.

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Fue una temporada muy complicada, pero ellos los fans, son los únicos que se merecen unas disculpas, te apoyan siempre a pesar de todo por este club. En lo personal, no jugué todo lo que esperaba, me lesioné de cosas que nunca me habían pasado. Hay cosas internas que la gente y periodistas hablan sin saber. Siempre fui profesional en todo sentido, ofrezco disculpas a los fans 🙏🏽 por no estar peleando cosas importantes, siendo que somos el Manchester United. Jugadores y Staff saquemos conclusión, si hicimos lo correcto y entregamos lo mejor de cada uno por esta camiseta… Estoy seguro que el Manchester United, volverá a ser el club, que algún día fue, con el señor Alex Ferguson. ⬇️ 🙏🏽 It was a very tough season…the fan are the ones who deserve an apology as they always support you no matter what happens. Personally, I didn’t perform as much as I was expecting because of unpredictable injuries. Press and people were speculating of things that were not even true. I was always a professional in all aspects. I apologise to the fans 🙏 for not be able to achieve our goals,Nevertheless we are Manchester United! Players and Staff are questioning if we were doing the right thing and if we were giving our best for this football shirt … I'm certain that Manchester United one day will return to be the club, as it was in the old days with Mr. Alex Ferguson. 💪🏽….

A post shared by Alexis Sanchez (@alexis_officia1) on

Perhaps this was just inevitable. Although Sanchez is 30-years old, he’s already got an incredible amount of mileage in his legs. The Chilean international has been playing first team soccer since 2005, and between 2014 and 2018, he basically played five straight seasons without a summer break. He played for Chile in the 2014 World Cup, then featured for La Roja in two successive Copas America, before heading to Russia for the 2017 Confederations Cup.

All the while, Sanchez was playing day in and day out for Barcelona and Arsenal, giving everything he had, and then in the fall and spring, making the long, long flights from Spain and England to Santiago, Chile to play for his national team.

Eventually, all that travel and time on the pitch without a rest will take its toll.

Sanchez can still be a great player in the Premier League, but it’s time to adjust expectations. He no longer is at the level of a player earning a reported $21.5 million per season. Instead, hopefully he will have time to rest this summer, take six weeks to recharge his batteries and recover from his injuries, and be ready to go one more time, whether for Man United or another club, should he decide to leave.

As Man United seeks a massive overhaul of its roster, Sanchez may be one player that they can’t offload, but his never-say-die attitude that made him such a fan favorite at Arsenal could come good under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, if he’s fit and ready to go.

Man Utd team news, injury updates ahead of Barcelona clash

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Manchester United are nearing a return to full(er) strength after yet another lengthy injury crisis, but the majority of those closest to seeing the field are still likely to miss out on Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League quarterfinal first leg against Barcelona.

[ MORE: Solskjaer “cannot see” Paul Pogba leaving Man United this summer ]

Chief among them is Marcus Rashford, who happens to be closest to returning to game action. Man United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revealed on Tuesday that Rashford participated in a portion of first-team training 24 hours before the clash at Old Trafford, but the 21-year-old sounds a 50-50 doubt at best — quotes from the BBC:

“Hopefully he will be ready. He needed extra warm-up and hopefully he won’t get a reaction. He joined part of (training) at the end, but he couldn’t join the fun part of training.”

Meanwhile, Nemanja Matic is a long shot to feature after he was an unused substitute during the defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers and was then unable to train now a week later.

[ MORE: Klopp enjoying pressure of title race, “loves this season much more” ]

Ander Herrera is “probably out,” according to Solskjaer, while Alexis Sanchez has been officially ruled out of consideration to face his former club on Wednesday.

On a somewhat positive note, full backs Luke Shaw (two games) and Ashley Young (one game) will be available once again despite being suspended from domestic competition.

Alexis Sanchez could miss rest of season

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Alexis Sanchez could miss the rest of Manchester United’s season.

The Chilean forward injured ligaments in his right knee during their 3-2 win against Southampton on Saturday, and reports from his native Chile say he could be out for up to eight weeks.

That means Sanchez may only return for United’s final two games of the campaign, if he returns at all, as Chile’s physio Pedro Onate gave the following details to El Mercurio newspaper in Chile.

“We communicated with Sanchez, he has had his scans and that’s the injury – there will be no problems for him to play in the Copa America [this summer] because it will be six to eight weeks without playing,” Onate said. “The medial ligament is a troublesome injury but not so complex.”

Sanchez has really struggled this season at United. First under Jose Mourinho and now under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

In truth, the only reason he was playing against Saints at the weekend is because of a raft of injuries for Solskjaer’s side as the likes of Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial remain out.

If United reach the FA Cup final then Sanchez could play in that, and we all know how much he loves playing at Wembley and in that competition in particular.

The 30-year-old has had a nightmare 13 months at United so far and this injury at a time when he could have a decent run in the team just about sums it up.

Sanchez has worked hard for Solskjaer, at least defensively, but his attacking spark is certainly missing.