Wenger tells badge-kissing Alexis: You have to accept Arsenal stayThe Chile international forward is back with the Gunners, but continues to generate plenty of exit rumours despite his bubbly demeanour in training
Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez has graced some of the finest stadiums in the world, and also a Chilean jail as a goalkeeper.
A distinguished playing career has carried the Chilean from his homeland to Emirates Stadium via Udinese and Barcelona.
He was, however, to take the first tentative steps on that journey in more humble surroundings.
While growing up in South America, Alexis was eager to find game time wherever possible.That meant going wherever there was competition and playing in any position asked of him.
Occasionally his quest would lead him down some unusual avenues, but it is those experiences which have helped to make him the world-class talent he is today.
Alexis told Arsenal Player on his experiences as a football-mad youngster: “I wanted to be a professional footballer from when I was small.
“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.”
Moving up the field has certainly been the right call for Alexis, with the 28-year-old now one of the finest attackers on the planet.
Arsenal bought into that ability when splashing out £31 million to sign him from Barcelona and will be hoping to keep him on their books as contract extension talks drag on in north London.