Alexis Sanchez reveals he snubbed ‘dad’ Pep Guardiola at City after a phone call from Jose Mourinho
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Alexis Sanchez has admitted that he once snubbed Pep Guardiola and Manchester City, after he received a phone call from Jose Mourinho telling him he could have the famous No 7 shirt at Manchester United.
The Chilean played under the City manager at Barcelona and described the Spaniard to be like his ‘dad’, winning a raft of titles at the Nou Camp before he joined Arsenal for £30 million back in 2014.
Under Arsene Wenger, the 34-year-old went on to prove himself as one of the most dangerous forwards in the history of the Premier League netting 80 times across 166 league appearances for the Gunners, before moving to Old Trafford in 2018.
City had approached Arsenal to buy Sanchez, bidding around £70m for the forward, yet in an eye-opening interview La Tercera, it appears while he admitted he ‘would have won the Champions League’ with Guardiola’s side, he ultimately snubbed them after receiving a phone call from Mourinho.
‘I was about to go to City,’ he told La Tercera. ‘I spoke to Guardiola every day, he told me happy birthday. He was like my dad. He was my dad at Barcelona and he was like my dad at City.
Alexis Sanchez claims he snubbed Pep Guardiola and City after a call from Jose Mourinho
Sanchez (right) described the Man City boss as his ‘dad’ during his time at Barcelona
Yet after his time at Arsenal was up, the Chilean opted for a move to United with Mourinho
‘We talked, we talked every day, he sent me messages. And everything was ready, there was a player who was going to go to Arsenal.
‘Then Wenger tells me you are not leaving because the other player did not want to come and they do not have another.
‘Suddenly the cell phone rings. Mourinho tells me: ‘Alexis, here is the seven [shirt] available for you.’
Sanchez ultimately ended up moving to Old Trafford in a swap deal with Henrikh Mkhitaryan, landing himself an enormous pay rise in the process, earning £350,000-per-week.
He would go on to pull on the No 7 shirt made famous by footballing icons including Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo.
It was a bitter-sweet move for the former Arsenal star though, who despite snubbing his former mentor and coach, also faced backlash from some of his old Arsenal team-mates for leaving the club.
SportsMail Columnist Martin Keown was another who branded him a ‘mercenary’ following the big-money move, but during the interview, Sanchez took the time to make it clear that money was not his motive for moving to United.
‘It wasn’t a money thing, so everyone knows. It was the same with United and City. And he said to me here is the seven, we are playing in the Champions League and we are going to give everything. I wanted to leave at that moment, but I had Guardiola’s word.
‘That’s when I said to myself, Chilean footballer playing for Manchester United, something that has never happened. With the seven of Cantona, Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo and now a Chilean had it, it was a dream.’
Yet his time at Old Trafford was short-lived, with Sanchez going out on loan to Inter Milan the year after joining the club after falling out of favour with the Portuguese coach.
Mourinho had previously revealed that the forward was ‘not happy’ during his time at Man United, with Sanchez recording just five goals 45 appearances with United before going out on loan.
Mourinho (pictured) had reportedly offered him the No 7 jersey, the lure for Sanchez
It would end up being a frustrating move for Sanchez who would score five goals in 45 games
He then moved to Inter Milan where he had more success in Serie A before joining Marseille
He returned the following year, but would re-join Inter Milan where he had more success playing 109 matches returning 20 goals.
Speaking on his time at Old Trafford, the Chilean admitted he didn’t regret the move despite spending only two years on the clubs roster.
‘I don’t regret going to United,’ he added. ‘Things happen for a reason. I would have liked to have gone to City, yes.
‘We would have won the Champions League by now. In the final I would have done something.’