Sanchez is one of the most important players for La Roja, the Chilean helped his country to their first-ever Copa America title when they defeated Argentina in the final via penalties in 2015, with Sanchez scoring the winning penalty.
Chile followed up their 2015 achievement with a second consecutive win in the Copa America Centenario in 2016, beating Argentina in the final once again via penalties.
However, the South American were unable to qualify for the 2018 World Cup following their 3-0 loss to Brazil on Tuesday (10 October), meaning the Chilean will be one of the key players who will not be playing in Russia next summer.
Speaking ahead of Arsenal’s league trip to Watford on the weekend, Arsene Wenger compared his forward to a number of big names who were also heavily influential for their countries.
“I would say you have in every generation a player who carries the pressure of expectation of a nation,” Wenger said, as quoted by FourFourTwo. “In France, it was Zidane. In England, it was Beckham. We had other players in the team but it was Beckham. Why not [Steven] Gerrard? I don’t know. But it was Beckham.
“In Chile, it’s Sanchez. In Argentina, of course, it’s Messi. It looks like that there is somebody there in a national team who has to carry the pressure and absorb it and protect a little the rest of the team.
“It’s someone normally who likes it a little bit. They like to be on the front line. Overall, what does it mean? It means they have to deal with the lows as well.”
The French manager also cast doubts on whether Sanchez, who Wenger admitted could leave in the January transfer window, would be in the right state of mind for the Gunners’ clash against Watford.
“He is as well in a very difficult mind,” Wenger explained. “Chile just won the Copa America twice and now they don’t even go to the World Cup.
“Sanchez is 29 at the end of the year, so the next one he will be 33. He expected to go. Certainly [it’s] a big disappointment for him. But I believe to play at the top level as well, it is part of dealing with that kind of disappointment.”