Alexis en una acció del partit contra el Viktoria. FOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB

Profe Bielsa (Professor), how he became to be known in Chile, and the “chico maravilla” (wonder kid), Alexis Sanchéz will be reunited in San Mamés this Sunday. Both coincided in the Chilean national side from August 2007 to November 2010, and if the wonder kid is one of the best wingers at the moment, it’s largely due to Bielsa’s tutelage.

Alexis, appreciative of the Professor's teachings

During the three years that the current Athletic boss managed Chile’s national side, Bielsa molded and perfected the raw talent of the then Udinese player. The “Europeanization” of Alexis’ play style in the Italian club was polished over the 24 games he played under Bielsa for the Chilean national side. The Barça player had words for his former manager during his unveiling as an Azulgrana, “I want to thank those that taught me along the way. I learned a lot from the Profe. At times I didn’t think I would be able to learn everything that I needed to, but little by little I started to understand what he [Bielsa] had in mind and I learned a lot.”

Bielsa: “Alexis will fit in really well at Barça”

Marcelo Bielsa also had words of praise for Alexis when the coach was presented as the new manager of Athletic Bilbao: “I’m very happy for him and for FC Barcelona. I think they’ll mix really well together. Although, Alexis would do well in any team, I know he can do it at Barça, because he’s such a good player.”

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