Imagine leaving home, flying half way around the world, having to spend every day with some of the most egotistical people on the planet, then having to play world-class football in front of tens of thousands of fans almost every week.
Sure, the sports cars, supermodels and eight-figure paycheques probably help, but you can forgive a guy for wanting a little alone time to deal with it all, right?
According to Chile’s former national team head honcho Jorge Sampaoli, Chilean international and Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez often preferred not to interact with his teammates while Sampaoli led the national team.
Advertisement – Continue Reading Below
“There are times when Alexis arrives for breakfast with his headphones on and sits alone in silence, not talking to anyone,” Sampaoli explained in an off-the-record interview published by Las Ultimas Noticias.
The comments are believed to have been made after Chile’s Copa America victory in 2015 but are being published now as Chile struggles to make progress in the qualifiers for next year’s Russian World Cup.
According to the interview, Sampaoli harboured concerns over the team’s discipline for years while manager.
“None of [a particular group] were at the right level to face the qualifying campaign we had in front of us,” he is quoted as saying.
And Sanchez is not the only one to fall foul of his former manager. “Every time I saw Edu [Eduardo Vargas] he was worse than before. Mati [Matias Fernandez] no longer played at the level I wanted for the national team.”
Chile’s national team, La Roja, lost 3-0 against Brazil in Sao Paulo this week, finishing in sixth place in their group and ruling them out of a World Cup spot. The U.S. also missed out on making it to the tournament for the first time since 1986 after losing to Trinidad & Tobago.