Alexis Alejandro Sánchez Sánchez, famously know as just Alexix, has been populary dubbed "El Niño Maravilla" (The Wonder Child). With 39 goals, he is the Chile's all-time leading goalscorer. Here are some very interesting facts about Chilean professional footballer:
He is popularly called ‘El Nino Maravilla’ the wonder child, who has earned 119 caps for Chile, making him the teams joint most capped player of all-time. Also with 39 goals, he is the country’s all-time leading goal scorer.
He was born Alexis Alejandro Sanchez Sanchez on December 19, 1988, in Tocopilla, Chile, to Gullermo Soto and Martina Sanchez, a horticulturist and small scale business woman.
Started playing barefoot or on borrowed boots almost up to the age of 15, when the Mayor of Tocopilla, his hometown, gave him the first boots.
Despite his mother’s best effort, poverty forced Alexis Sanchez be adopted by his uncle Jose Delaigue, which turned out to be no better. However his uncle got him registered in a local youth football academy, Arauco Youth School.
In his youth he did odd jobs to earn some extra money like washed cars, did kick boxing, worked at the cemetery and would do acrobatics for few coins from onlookers. Sometimes hunger forced him to beg for food from neighbors.
A timely intervention by Luis Astorga, a wealthy and football well-wisher, offered a humanitarian assistance to Sanchez. With his focus on football his performance at this stage of life earned him the nickname ‘El Nino Maravilla,’ the wonder boy.
Sanchez is the product of football club C.D.Cobreloain Calama and made his senior team debut at the age of 16 years on February 12, 2005 against Deportes Temuco in the Chilian League.
He was once in the center of controversy just ahead of Chile’s match against England in a friendly at Wembley in November 2013. He was quoted in an interview with Daily Express, that England footballer had ‘gone soft’ as they are pampered at an early age.
He scored his first professional goal at the age of 16 years on March 18, 2005, in a 2-1 win over Deportes Concepcion.
He is the youngest at 16 years to debut in the Copa Libertadores tournament on March 23, 2005, when he came on as substitute at 52 minutes against Once Caldas of Colombia.
Although he was signed-up by Serie ‘A’ club Udinese, for £ 1.7 million on April 21, 2006, hewas loaned to Chilean giants Colo-Colo club for a season for the process of maturation.
Sanchez made his Chilean national team debut against New Zealand on April 27, 2006 and scored his first international goal on September 07, 2007 against Switzerland in a friendly.
After making his debut for Colo-Colo in June, he was part of the club which won the TorneoClausura tournament, for his first professional title.
He represented Chilean Under-20 team in the 2007 FIFA Under-20 World Cup held in Canada and scored a goal against Congo during league stages. Chile finished third.
After his stint with Colo-Colo came to an end on August 15, 2007, he was further loaned to Argentina’s River Plate club for six months for $ 1 million. He played in the Primera Divison and scored four goals in 23 matches.
On February 27, 2011, he set a record of scoring four goals in a single match in Serie ‘A’ by a Chilean player. He broke the record of his country man Marcelo Salas and Ivan Zamorano, playing only for 52 minutes when Udinese defeated Palermo 7-0.
The 2010-11, season was the most successful at Udinese with 12 goals in 33 matches and formed a deadly duo with Italian striker Antonio Di Natale, tallying 39 goals together.
At the end of the season, FIFA.com ran a poll, asking users to name their most promising player in the world football that season. Sanchez was voted ahead of the likes of Neymar, Paulo Henrique Ganso, Javier Pastore and Gareth Bale. He claimed 35% of the vote.
On July 25, 2011, he signed five years deal with the European champion, Barcelona worth £ 33 million, as the first Chilean to play for the club. The Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola was instrumental in his decision making.
His stint with Barcelona started with thigh injury when he collided with Marcelo of Real Madrid on August 14 and was out of action for about two weeks. A week later against Real Sociedad, he was stretchered off after 30 minutes following a challenge.
At the end of 2013-14, season, Sanchez agreed to move to Arsenal. In three seasonswith Barcelona, he aggregated 39 goals in 88 appearances in the league and 47 goals in all forms.
On July 10, 2014, he signed a long time contract with Arsenal F.C worth £31.7 million and made his debut on August 02, as a substitute against Benfica in the pre-season Emirates Cup.
He rounded up the season with a goal and an assist in the ‘2015 FA Cup Final’ on May 30, to become the first Chilean since 1952 to score a goal in the FA cup finals. Arsenal defeated Aston Villa 4-0 to take the title.
He ended the season with 25 goals to be crowned as ‘Arsenal’s Player of the Year.’ He was also voted ‘2015 PFA Fan’s Player of the Year,’ and was named in the PFA Team of the Year.
Sanchez ended the 2016-17, season taking Arsenal to its record 13th FA Cup, with an opening goal for a 2-1 win over Chelsea. He was named man of the match in the finals and was voted overwhelming winner as ‘Arsenal’s Player of the Year’ for the second time.
Sanchez was instrumental in Chile qualifying for the 2010 and 2014 World Cup finals. Incidentally Chile was eliminated at the Round of 16 to Brazil, both the time.
Sanchez slotted the winning spot-kick for Chile to lift its first major trophy at the 2015 Copa America Cup. Chile defeated Argentina 4-1 on penalty after regular time deadlock.
He scored three goals and an assist to help Chile defend its Copa America Centenario in June 2016. He was awarded the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player with Chile defeating Argentina via penalty once again.
In March 2017, a statue was erected in his honor in Tocopilla, with crest of every club he has represented as well as the entire honor he has won.
He has a long history of dating South American beauties from Faloon Larraguibel, a TV personality to a Uruguayan Model, Tamara Primus, then a Chilean actress, Roxana Munoz and Brazilian Model, Michelle Carvalho. He is presently going steady with Laia Grassi.