Manchester United attacker Alexis Sanchez has spoken out about how becoming and maintaining professional footballer status is tougher than people think.
Watching on from the stands, particularly if a player is underperforming, it is commonplace to see supporters venting their frustrations, often including a weekly wage or transfer fee to justify their grievances.
One player who will be subject to that intense scrutiny more than others in time to come is the Chile international, who became the Red Devils’ highest paid player of all time during the January transfer window after making his switch to Old Trafford from Arsenal.
Mkhitaryan for Sanchez was one of the worst deals ever. Imagine thinking otherwise. United have got a star while we’ve got the French Welbeck, Gabonese Chamakh and the Armenian Stephen Holland.
— Soham (@_thatsohammehta) February 10, 2018
However, often a lot of fans simply see the rewards of being a professional footballer and do not take into consideration the sacrifices made while making the journey to realising their dream.
Of course, the monetary gains in today’s game are almost inconceivable, but Sanchez has revealed some of the challenges players have to overcome to make it to the top.
“It can give you a life of luxury, but people don’t see all the effort that goes in behind the scenes”, the 29-year-old told Sky Sports ahead of Manchester United’s clash with Newcastle United on Sunday afternoon.
“That might mean not seeing your family, or missing your mother’s birthday, many players are so focused that they miss the birth of their children.
“You might cry during a game if you lose a final. That’s all part of football. In the Barcelona dressing room after the Chelsea game, I saw Leo [Messi] cry. That’s because players demand so much from themselves. People don’t see that.
“Sometimes people say things such as: “He’s got too big for his boots” Or say: “he’s changed”.
“You buy a flash car and people say that you’re a show-off. I’ve learnt so much over time and with the experience that I’ve gained. You can’t please everyone.
“There’ll always be one or two who get angry. I’ve learnt so much from playing football: I love football and that’s what I do. I enjoy myself and I’m just trying to be happy.”