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Five things you may not know about new Manchester United signing Alexis Sanchez

Alexis Sanchez
Alexis Sanchez
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Alexis Sanchez has completed his long-awaited move to Manchester United from Arsenal.

The Chilean forward has transformed himself from a street footballer to an internationally famous star.

Here, we identify five things you might not know about Chile's top goalscorer.

1. Hometown glory

In Sanchez's hometown of Tocopilla, Chile, not only is there a statue in his honour but also a street named after him. Residents of the city voted and chose the street formerly known as 'Cuarta Poniente' (fourth street), the location of the Cancha Lazareto football pitch where Sanchez first began playing, to be renamed Calle Alexis Sanchez.

2. 'The Wonder Kid'

Despite being known as 'El Nino Maravilla', which translates as 'The Wonder Kid', Sanchez went by a different name growing up. He was referred to by the people in his city as 'ardilla' or 'dilla', which translates as 'squirrel'. He was given this nickname because he was always seen climbing on the roofs of houses and up trees as well as jumping into gardens and running under fences in order to find his football.

3. Santa's little helper

Sanchez has always had a special bond with Tocopilla, and every year, when possible, he returns to the city at Christmas time. Along with the mayor and his friends, Sanchez stands on the back of a float handing out presents to the children of the village.

4. The barefoot boy

As a child, Sanchez's mother could not afford to buy him any football boots. He therefore played a lot of the time barefoot, which he claims is the reason behind the style of play he has now - "running with little jumps" - as he used to frequently avoid rocks. However, when playing for local team Arauco, he was given his first pair of boots. The mayor of Tocopilla was a fan of Arauco and gifted Sanchez a pair of Reebok boots. When recalling the story Sanchez said: "I was as happy as a dog with two tails."

5. And the Oscar goes to...

When discussing retirement Sanchez has said he would like to go into acting when his time on the pitch comes to an end. He claims this is why he always puts a lot of effort into any advertisements he is a part of. Sanchez would like to play the role of a detective in his movies, but does not think he would make it to Hollywood due to his still-limited command of English.

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