Alexis Sanchez left out of Chile squad to focus on Manchester United
By Richard Cooke
Last Updated: 30/08/18 9:36pm
Manchester United forward Alexis Sanchez has been left out of Chile's squad for two friendlies next month because his club need him, coach Reinaldo Rueda has said.
United have had their worst start to a Premier League campaign since the inaugural season in 1992/93, following back-to-back defeats to Brighton and Tottenham.
Now Chile face a pair of long-distance friendlies against Japan and South Korea on almost exactly the opposite side of the world.
Rueda said such a trip would be "exhausting" and that United "need him in a difficult moment" despite his country's matches in Sapporo on September 7 and Seoul four days later.
United's 3-0 defeat at home to Spurs on Monday heaped the pressure on increasingly disgruntled manager Jose Mourinho and followed their abject performance in a 3-2 defeat on the south coast a week earlier.
It was the worst home defeat of Mourinho's career as a coach.
Sanchez, 29, is his country's record scorer (39 goals) and most capped player (121 appearances) and is known as "The Wonder Kid" back home.
He helped Chile win back-to-back Copa America titles in 2015 and 2016, both times beating Lionel Messi's Argentina on penalties in the final.
While Sanchez sits out the arduous trips to the Far East, Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal will lead the team.
But Rueda has left out two other star players -- midfielder Jorge Valdivia and forward Esteban Paredes -- from Chilean giants Colo-Colo, as they have reached the Copa Libertadores quarter-finals for the first time in 24 years.
"It's not up to me to think about what's best for a club side, I'm interested in my team," said Colombian Rueda.
"But I know how exhausting the Copa Libertadores can be and this time I prefer those Colo-Colo players to concentrate on that."