Alexis Sanchez has been speaking publicly about his admiration for former team-mate Lionel Messi.

The 28-year-old forward, who made 141 appearances for Barca in three seasons before leaving for north London after the 2014 World Cup, has been unafraid to lavish compliments on one of the world’s best ever players.

As quoted by the club’s official website Alexis said, “I think he has an incredible winning mentality. He says ‘here I am and I am the best’. That attitude means not only that he’s a brilliant footballer but also that he can get better.

Sanchez was heavily criticised early in the season for his comments suggesting he should be seen alongside the likes of Messi and Ronaldo as one of the world’s best.

Given his praise for Messi’s attitude and mental strength, compared to his undeniable quality it’s clear that Alexis is trying to replicate the same mindset.

Alexis (R) in action against former teammate Messi during last season's Champions League last-16 tie
Barcelona forward Lionel Messi (L) vies with Arsenal’s Chilean striker Alexis Sanchez during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 1st leg football match between the two sides at the Emirates Stadium in London on February 23, 2016. Barcelona won the match 2-0. (Picture source: Adrian Dennis / AFP / Getty Images)

He has such a strong mental attitude and when he steps on the pitch he declares ‘I’m the best and I’ll prove it’. That’s how players should be. That’s how I feel and I’m sure plenty of other players are the same,” Alexis continued.

You want to be the best because you want to show that you are the best. You have to think like that.

These quotes, published on the Arsenal website, are just disappointing to read given the club’s current situation. Alexis’ mental strength seems to be tested to its limits and irrespective of whether he performs well, constant questions about his future are raised.

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Football writer. Objective reviews and analysis of European football. Lifelong Arsenal fan, youth football enthusiast.