It’s been a slow start at Old Trafford for Alexis Sanchez.
Manchester United’s marquee January signing has failed to really make an impression under Jose Mourinho, scoring just once (from a rebounded penalty against Huddersfield) in his first four appearances.
Still, we’re sure the Chilean will get his act together sooner or later.
After all, he’s overcome a lot more in his illustrious career.
The 29-year-old features prominently in the latest issue of Man United magazine Inside United, and there’s a great piece by Italian journalist Pietro Oleotto – who followed Sanchez during his time with Serie A side Udinese, where he played between 2006 and 2011.
Recalling his first season in Udine, Oleotto said: “He was skinny and stayed on the right wing a lot.
“The physicality in the penalty area was too much for him, but the team needed him more central, closer to the goal, to make the most of his dribbling.
“So he began improving his body and they built him an ad-hoc gym.
“He worked out for two hours a day after training, I remember seeing him halfway through pre-season training camp and being shocked by how much muscle he had put on.”
The muscly No 7 is renowned for strength, pace and work-rate, which is something he refined while playing for Bianconeri Friuliani.
And there’s one story from Oleotto that certainly highlights his early determination.
He said: “Once, after training, Alexis drove into Udine to do some shopping, but he accidentally locked his keys and mobile phone in his car.
“I’m not sure what most people would have done, but he just ran home.
“He jogged the 8km from the heart of the city to his house in the hills.
“Bemused locals saw him in his club tracksuit running and called us at the paper, it was typical of Alexis to turn the situation into an improvised cross-country run.”
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