In an article published in Man United's official magazine Inside United, journalist Pietro Oleotto talked about Alexis Sanchez's formative years with Italian side Udinese, including a scarcely believable anecdote about the Chileans' cross country exploits.
The Italian detailed how the Chilean found it tough at first at the Serie A side due to his physical stature:
In his first season, he [Alexis] was skinny and stayed on the right wing a lot. The physicality in the penalty area was too much for him. But the team needed him more central, closer to the goal, to make the most of his dribbling.
So he began improving his body and they built him an ad-hoc gym. He worked out for two hours a day after training. I remember seeing him halfway through pre-season training camp and being shocked by how much muscle he had put on.
Two hours after a full day of training is impressive and testament to Sanchez's professionalism but the most interesting part of Oleotto's insight into the makings of Sanchez is a story about the midfielder locking his keys in his car:
Once, after training, Alexis drove into Udine to do some shopping. But he accidentally locked his keys and mobile phone in his car.
I'm not sure what most people would have done, but he just ran home. He jogged the 8km from the heart of the city to his house in the hills. Bemused locals saw him in his club tracksuit running and called us at the paper. It was typical of Alexis to turn the situation into an improvised cross-country run.
That's 16 kilometres there and back through the undulating cobblestones of Udine. Certifiable mad bastard behaviour. Leave it to Sanchez to turn a potentially embarrassing situation into one where you come out the other side as a legend. Needless to say these tales of steely determination and strength of character will be music to the ears of Gunners the world over.