Alexis Sanchez's move to Manchester United brings 'pride' to Chile - Rueda
New Chile coach Reinaldo Rueda says Alexis Sanchez's move to Manchester United is a huge moment for football in the country.
Sanchez, Chile's all-time leading goal scorer, completed his transfer to Old Trafford from Arsenal on Monday and his country celebrated the news. Chile's national team tweeted: "Our 'Wonder Kid' joins one of the top clubs in the world. Wear the historic [number] 7 with the same pride and talent as you do for La Roja!"
The 29-year-old will become the first Chilean to play a competitive game for United, and that could come in Friday's FA Cup fourth-round tie at Yeovil Town.
Rueda told CDF Noticias: "It's extraordinary. It's a matter of pride for all of Chile and for us. To have a player of international level, a reference player of Alexis' calibre right now in a great club is wonderful.
"His arrival [at United] is important, it's the desire of any professional to continue to progress. We wish him all the luck in the world and to have a lot of success."
Diego Forlan, one of 15 South Americans to have played for the Red Devils, is excited for Sanchez. The Uruguay striker, now on the books of Hong Kong side Kitchee Sports Club, told El Grafico newspaper: "I think it's a very good signing. He is a very good player and knows the league which is an advantage."
Forlan, who scored 17 goals in 95 appearances in an underwhelmed spell with United before leaving for Villarreal in 2004, has warned Sanchez of the importance of representing the club.
"It's a very big club," the 38-year-old said. "What happens is that because they are not competing with Real Madrid and Barcelona people think it's not the same as it was, but they have a lot of fans around the world. It's one of the best clubs on the planet.
"When no one travelled to Asia or the United States, they were the first. Everyone now copies what they did since 30 years ago."
Asked if United could return to be the successful club they once were under Sir Alex Ferguson following the arrival of Sanchez, Forlan said: "They are doing everything they can to return to that position. Time will tell."
In the meantime, Sanchez's transfer to United has generated a lot of excitement in Chile, and his new No. 7 shirt will be available to buy in the country from Saturday.
Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.