By 90Min
October 14, 2017

Alexis Sanchez's importance to Chile is akin to the likes of Lionel Messi, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham to their national sides, according to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

After a disappointing string of results, Sanchez's Chile sensationally missed out on a qualifying spot for the World Cup in Russia next summer after succumbing to a 3-0 defeat to Brazil in the final day of CONMEBOL qualifiers last week.   


Wenger spoke of Sanchez ahead of his side's trip to Watford on Saturday and claimed the 28-year-old attacker was one of a group of players who are heavily relied upon by their nation to carry the weight of expectation. 

The French boss said, via Goal"I would say you have in every generation a player who carries the pressure of expectation of a nation. In France it was Zidane. In England it was Beckham. We had other players in the team but it was Beckham. Why not [Steven] Gerrard? I don't know. But it was Beckham. 

"In Chile it's Sanchez. In Argentina of course it's Messi. It looks like that there is somebody there in a national team who has to carry the pressure and absorb it and protect a little the rest of the team.

"It's someone normally who likes it a little bit. They like to be on the front line. Overall what does it mean? It means they have to deal with the lows as well.

Following a summer of speculation surrounding his future and now a blow to his World Cup dreams, Wenger admitted he remained uncertain if Sanchez would be mentally prepared to feature against Watford on Saturday. 

He added: "He is as well in a very difficult mind. Chile just won the Copa America twice and now they don't even go to the World Cup. 

"Sanchez is 29 at the end of the year, so the next one he will be 33. He expected to go. Certainly [it's] a big disappointment for him. But I believe to play at the top level as well, it is part of dealing with that kind of disappointment."

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