Wednesday 12 December 2018

Alexis Sanchez returns home to Chile as Manchester United striker set for lengthy absence

Alexis Sanchez is set for a lengthy absence (Martin Rickett/PA)
Alexis Sanchez is set for a lengthy absence (Martin Rickett/PA)

Miguel Delaney

Alexis Sanchez has returned home to Chile to recuperate from his hamstring injury, with the blessing of Manchester United and manager Jose Mourinho.

The Chilean now faces six weeks out after what has been a difficult first year at Old Trafford, and probably his worst in a decade in European football.

With Sanchez also still affected by the break-up of a relationship with long-term partner Mayte Rodriguez, it was felt that a return home to Topocilla would be best to recover mentally as well as physically. He will thereby spend some of Christmas with his family.

Sanchez landed in Santiago on Tuesday, and will over the next week or so work with some of the Chilean national team staff. United have a good relationship with the federation, who agreed to rest Sanchez for recent friendlies, and the hope is that what amounts to a winter break will revitalise his career and time at Old Trafford.

The 29-year-old is expected to miss the rest of the calendar year, with Mourinho admitting last week that he heard "a painful scream" when Sanchez suffered the injury in training at the end of November.

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"There have been no scans yet. But the player is experienced, the player knows what the injury is and also from the top of my experience, just the painful scream and the way the injury happened, I know it's going to be for a long time," the United manager said ahead of last weekend's draw with Southampton.

"It is not the little muscular injury that in one week or 10 days the player is ready.

"For me and also for Alexis, the feelings before the scans is that the grade [of the hamstring injury] is different than for (Victor) Lindelof.

"The Lindelof one was not an easy one, so Alexis has what I used to call an aggressive muscular injury."

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