Playing for a club like Barcelona brings the added pressure to perform every time you step in the pitch. It’s a pressure Alexis Sanchez has failed to live up to until this season.
Once considered one of the best young players in the world, the Chilean International thrived at Udinese in the Serie A. He is exactly the type of player the La Liga giants look for: quick, decisive and oozing quality.
Sanchez’s performances quickly came under scrutiny by the Catalan fans, as he never showed up in the big games during the Champions League and particularly during El Clasico versus archrival Real Madrid. It seemed as if Sanchez couldn’t get out of his own way, at times tripping over himself as he dribbled or missed open net goal-scoring opportunities.
Sanchez’s time at Barcelona has been lack luster to say the least, for a player who was pegged to be the next big thing at Barcelona.
But sometimes competition brings the best out of players and it has so for this season for Sanchez. With the acquisition of Brazilian starlet Neymar and the emergence of Spanish youngster Cristian Tello, it was time to step up and deliver. Lionel Messi, being an unquestioned pick in the lineup and Spain International Perdo Rodriguez being a model of consistency, it was hard to see where Sanchez would get game time.
Interestingly enough, Sanchez hasn’t made way for anyone. Pedro and Neymar have alternated in the lineup more often. Sanchez has solidified a first choice selection with his performances this season scoring big goals and creating opportunities for his teammates.
Sanchez scored the winner in the El Clasico matchup at the weekend, confirming a rise in his confidence.
I look for Sanchez to be a big part of Barcelona’s success this season as they try to regain the coveted Champions League crown to reassert their dominance in Europe.