Chile will bank on unsettled Sanchez
Transfer talk may get best out of him, coach hopes
Copa America champions Chile will try to curb Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo in Confederations Cup semi-final with the goal-ace in rich form despite a tax storm brewing in Spain. The Real Madrid forward, 32, converted a penalty in Saturday’s 4-0 thrashing of New Zealand to claim his 75th international goal. Ronaldo has now scored 16 times in his past 10 games for club and country.
The Portugal captain will face tax evasion charges in a Madrid court next month, but has dazzled on the pitch in Russia, claiming man-ofthe-match awards in all three group games, netting two goals and providing an assist.
“We all know he’s an amazing player, he’s very dangerous and can decide a game alone,” said Chile midfielder Marcelo Diaz, who has come up against Ronaldo with his Spanish club Celta Vigo.
“He has had an amazing season in Spain, he’s playing here with the same strength, which is why Portugal are in the semi-final. The main thing is trying to stop him getting the ball and scoring.”
Chile are yet to beat Portugal in three attempts with two defeats and a draw. Coach Juan Antonio Pizzi has all 23 players fit after midfielder Charles Aranguiz recovered from a knock in Sunday’s 1-1 draw against Australia.
Despite doubts about Alexis Sanchez’s Arsenal future, the Chile camp says their star striker is in high spirits. They hope his good performances will showcase his skills to potential future employers.
With a year left on his contract, Sanchez is stalling on signing an extension amid rumours of a switch to German giants Bayern Munich.
“He’s giving his best here and I think most players would like to be in a similar situation, because the best squads in the world want to have him, even if he is already at a good club,” Pizzi said.
“He’s a responsible person. He knows what he has to do and is fully focused on Chile.”