New Chile coach Reinaldo Rueda says Alexis Sanchez’s move to Manchester United is a huge moment for football in the country.
Sanchez, Chile’s all-time leading goal scorer, completed his transfer to Old Trafford from Arsenal on Monday and his country celebrated the news. Chile’s national team tweeted: “Our ‘Wonder Kid’ joins one of the top clubs in the world. Wear the historic [number] 7 with the same pride and talent as you do for La Roja!”
The 29-year-old will become the first Chilean to play a competitive game for United, and that could come in Friday’s FA Cup fourth-round tie at Yeovil Town.
Rueda told CDF Noticias: “It’s extraordinary. It’s a matter of pride for all of Chile and for us. To have a player of international level, a reference player of Alexis’ calibre right now in a great club is wonderful.
“His arrival [at United] is important, it’s the desire of any professional to continue to progress. We wish him all the luck in the world and to have a lot of success.”
Diego Forlan, one of 15 South Americans to have played for the Red Devils, is excited for Sanchez. The Uruguay striker, now on the books of Hong Kong side Kitchee Sports Club, told El Grafico newspaper: “I think it’s a very good signing. He is a very good player and knows the league which is an advantage.”
Forlan, who scored 17 goals in 95 appearances in an underwhelmed spell with United before leaving for Villarreal in 2004, has warned Sanchez of the importance of representing the club.
“It’s a very big club,” the 38-year-old said. “What happens is that because they are not competing with Real Madrid and Barcelona, people think it’s not the same as it was, but they have a lot of fans around the world. It’s one of the best clubs on the planet.