During Chile boss, Juan Antonio Pizzi’s, press conference ahead of their match against Uruguay, he urged Arsenal and Bayern Munich to ‘remain calm’.
After Alexis suffered a low-grade muscle injury in training with the Chile national team, Arsenal and Arsene Wenger made their feelings clear on the subject: we wanted him back in London for closer assessment. However, he was held in Santiago in a hope he would be ready for Chile’s match against Uruguay.
Upon hearing the news, Wenger told beINSports:
“I got a text last night (to say) that he has a hamstring injury. The team from Chile has travelled without him and they kept him to try and get him fit to play Uruguay for the second game on Tuesday night.
“I believe that with a hamstring injury. We have to get access for our medical staff to the MRI scan to see what grade it is, how bad it is and make absolutely sure they don’t make any suicidal decision that could harm his future for two or three months.
“That is absolutely important. It’s a grey area between the national team and the club team and of course they look at their own results which I can understand but we have to preserve the health of Alexis Sanchez.
“He always wants to play and that’s where it is a more sensitive case because he’s always ready to play even when injured.”
Pizzi has now confirmed that he, as well as Bayern Munich’s Arturo Vidal, who was stretchered off during Chile’s 0-0 draw with Colombia, will both face Uruguay.
Bayern have been similarly outraged with Chile’s treatment of players. With chief exec, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, saying:
“Bayern Munich are very worried about Arturo Vidal’s health.
“We urge the Chilean Football Association to deal with the situation responsibly and sensibly. It should be a given that the player’s health is a top priority.”
— Arsenal (@tomgunner14) November 14, 2016
Pizzi has now attempted to ease both Arsenal and Bayern’s concerns, assuring both clubs that they have no reason to worry.
“It’s not that [Alexis] hasn’t trained, he’s trained every day, even when we were in Colombia he did a different kind of work. Yesterday he took part in full training,” Pizzi said, report 90min.
“At no time have we received pressure from any club. My stance is that I will never use a player who is not fit or capable of playing. All of the clubs can remain calm, we are very respectful of our players.
“The health of our players is paramount, we will never force any player who has not got the medical all-clear.”
The issue is, there’s a pattern. Of course the players are going to force themselves onto the pitch because they want to play! It’s up to the manager to step in and tell them ‘no’, if they’re not fit and right now I’m not convinced either should be playing.
I’m not an expert but it just seems like a huge risk and a selfish one at that.