Alexis Sanchez has been putting in the hard yards ahead of Manchester United’s pre-season tour in one of the most punishing environments planet earth has to offer – the Atacama desert.
The Chilean has failed to win over supporters since arriving at the club in January, especially since his introduction has in turn pushed Anthony Martial – one of the club’s best players during the first half of the campaign – towards the Old Trafford exit door.
He impressed in certain games such as wins over Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup but has mainly looked like a stranger on the pitch.
Sanchez has been duly working extremely hard to bring himself back up to full speed in the punishing climate of the Atacama, which has been compared to Mars given its aridity and pressured atmosphere.
The 29-year-old needed a break this summer more than most. Prior to the 2017/18 campaign, he had only enjoyed 155 days rest in four years. Chile’s success as a national team – up until qualification for Russia – meant Sanchez was playing at a tournament for four summers in a row, going deep into the Copa America twice.
And that was perhaps fundamental to the struggles he had during his time at United. Everyone, even monsters like Sanchez, needs a rest, and the Chilean hasn’t had a good one for a while up until this summer. Supporters will hope to see him return to training fully regenerated.