Alexis Sanchez reveals he used to play football at his local jail in Chile

Samuel Lovett
The Independent
Sanchez honed his skills as a footballer in the streets of his home town: Getty
Sanchez honed his skills as a footballer in the streets of his home town: Getty

Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez has revealed that he used to visit his local jail in Chile in order to play football as a youngster.

The 28-year-old was born and raised in the Chilean city of Tocopilla where his passion for the game drove him to play wherever and whenever he could as a young child – even if this meant going in goal.

With pitches hard to come by, Sanchez and those he played with often turned to the ‘dirt pitch’ at the local jail in his home town.

It was here the Chilean fell in love with the game and first set his sights on becoming a professional footballer.

"I wanted to be a professional footballer from when I was small," Sanchez told Arsenal Player.

"My mental approach was always to win and to go as far as possible playing football.

"I was always playing in tournaments and initially I played in goal.

"I was happy as long as I was playing football. I played with older people all the time - many of whom I really liked.

"[I played] in the street, but we also used to go to the local jail to play. We played with the people there on a dirt pitch, and I played in goal."

Sanchez’s future at Arsenal remains in the balance as his side continues to flounder this season. With the club seemingly in turmoil over Arsene Wenger’s own future, it’s expected the Chilean will look to force a move out of the Emirates this summer.

His contract at the club, which expires in the summer of 2018, is yet to be renewed.

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