A little while ago, Alexis Sanchez shot an advert set in the future and in which he tells his grandson that he had made “history” with Chile’s so-called “golden generation” at the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017.
On a personal level, the forward has already achieved that objective. By finding the net in his side’s 1-1 draw with Germany in Group B on Thursday evening, El Niño Maravilla (“Boy Wonder”) became Chile’s all-time leading goalscorer.
Showing no signs of the injury that had kept him out of the starting line-up in Chile’s opening match, Sanchez was his usual skilful, rapid and incisive self against the Germans.
He has been showcasing those qualities for La Roja since September 2007, when he opened his international account against Switzerland in a friendly. And they were on display again in Kazan, when he struck the 38th goal of his Chile career to move past the great Marcelo Salas.
How Sanchez has scored his goals
- 17 in friendlies
- 13 in FIFA World Cup™ qualifiers
- 5 at the Copa America
- 2 at FIFA World Cup finals
- 1 at the FIFA Confederations Cup
Sanchez on his record-breaking goal
“When Arturo [Vidal] gave me the ball I saw that I had a defender to my right, so I went for the left side of the goal. The keeper had the far post covered pretty well and my only option was to go for the near post with my left, though there wasn’t a lot of space. I toe-poked it and luckily it went in off the post.”
Sanchez on his achievement
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet. I’ll perhaps only realise what it means after a little time goes by or when I’m old even. For the time being I just want to keep enjoying myself with the national team. I hope, though, that when I’m sitting at home having a glass of wine one day I will see someone surpass my record.”
His other landmarks of the day
112 – the number of matches that the 28-year-old has now played for his country, putting him level with Claudio Bravo – six years his senior – as La Roja’s most-capped player in history.
400 – in putting Chile ahead against the Germans, Sanchez scored the 400th goal in the history of the competition. The other players to have brought up Confederations Cup hundreds are Egypt’s Yaser Radwan (who scored the 100th goal, in 1999), Turkey’s Gokdeniz Karadeniz (the 200th, in 2003) and USA’s Jozy Altidore (the 300th, in 2009).
What they said about Alexis
Eduardo Vargas, third on the list of Chile’s all-time leading marksmen
“I’m very happy for him. He deserves it. He’s a great player who doesn’t just score goals – he helps the team too. I’m happy for him.”
The highest praise from Johnny Herrera
“It’s no surprise that a player of his quality and match-winning ability should get the record. If he’s not the best in Chilean football history, then he’s one of the best. I’m happy for him, but he’s still got an awful lot left to give the national team.”
No surprise to Marcelo Diaz
“We’re proud to have him, to see how he’s progressed and become a record breaker. Today he’s taken down two of the greats in Salas and [Ivan] Zamorano! He’s at the pinnacle of Chilean football now and he’s got there on merit. I never had any doubt that he was going to do it.”