The sustained decline of the pillars of the Golden Generation - La Tercera

Every good cycle comes to an end. In the case of golden generation, time has not left its main pillars indifferent. The Chilean players who were once the protagonists of the transfers of millionaires, had to resign themselves to economic and sporting stability for the future, in their respective careers.

All aged 33 or over have seen how time has taken a toll on their performance. Injuries have multiplied and the failure not to reach a second World Cup has been a blow to a sport like football, which is so successful.

Everything happened very quickly in the race Alexis Sanchez. It was 2006, the Tocopillano was only 16 years old when, shortly after making his professional debut at Cobreloa, the talented striker was sold to Italian Udinese, for a turnover close to 2.8 million. From there he went on loan to Colo Colo and River Plate, where he suffered a sprained ankle that sent him to surgery in 2008. A few months later, the Friulian club decided to start him in Serie A, where he finished three seasons on the rise.

Enough for Josep Guardiola to expressly ask for him for Barcelona, ​​despite the presence of Juventus and Manchester United, a club which also saw him in situ in the small town in northeastern Italy. In 2011, the culé team agreed to pay nearly 52.5 million dollars for their pass, including more than 30 in fixed and the rest in variable.

After three years in which he was overshadowed by the presence of Lionel Messi and then Neymar (he arrived in July 2013), the Boy Wonder decided to accept Arsene Wenger’s offer to take him to Arsenal after Brazil 2014 . With the Gunners, who paid $42 million, the Chilean enjoyed his best years in football, peaking with 30 goals and 18 assists in the 2016-17 season. City were one step away from taking him in August 2017, but José Mourinho’s Manchester United are the club that bought him in January 2018. In a season and a half with the Red Devils, irregularities and injuries (he spent 139 days outside) reduced their performance,

In 2019, he made the decision to come to Inter, but he was never able to establish himself as a starter in three seasons. He had to undergo further surgery at the end of 2019 due to a peroneal tendon injury. In all, he missed 330 days with the Lombards, almost a year.

Now, with the pass in his possession, the striker confirms that he is quite valid (9 goals and 5 assists in the last season) and is looking for a destination to sign his last big contract.

Gary Medell belongs to the same generation as Sánchez. Both stood out in that already distant 2007, when they finished third at the U20 World Cup in Canada. But it wasn’t until 2009 that he was able to make the switch to Boca Juniors, a team that paid a $350,000 loan and a $1.6 million call option for half of his stint.

It wasn’t long before Pitbull won the affection of Xeneizes fans and a big showcase that took him to Seville in Spain, which bought his pass in two installments, starting in January 2011. Along with the Andalusian cast, he played almost every game (94%) and in July 2013 he made the jump to the English Premier League, after Cardiff City bought his pass for $15 million.

He only spent one season in Wales, as Inter Milan acquired his letter for 12 million. For three years he was in the fashion capital, where he only missed 10 games due to injury. He played in all defensive positions and in midfield. Luciano Spalletti’s arrival on the Lombard bench coincided with his departure for Besiktas in Turkey, where he spent two years.

Bologna paid 2.2 million for his assist in mid-2019. After a regular season and another lousy one, the Conchalí player has established himself as a key player in the last season. The Emilian club has extended his contract until June 2023, when he is already 35 years old.

Arturo Vidal He left Chile very young. In April 2007, when he was not yet 20 years old, Bayer Leverkusen manager Rudi Völler came to Santiago to look for him. In July of that year, already 20 years old, he went to the German club, who paid 7.7 million dollars for 70% of the assist from the midfield.

In four years, the midfielder has only missed eight calls due to injury. But the player had to make a bigger jump. In July 2011, after Argentina’s Copa América, Juventus agreed to pay just over $19 million for the player’s assist.

He was leader and leader of the Vecchia Signora for four seasons during which he achieved 48 goals, 25 assists and an average of 74% minutes played. Even the meniscus operation, in May 2014, did not prevent that of San Joaquín from playing his first World Cup in Brazil 2014.

In July 2015, Bayern Munich paid $42.5 million for the Chilean, where he had two very good tournaments (’15-’17). But in his third, a new knee injury that required further surgery reduced his performance again, after being 123 days out of team discipline.

In July 2018, he had everything ready with Inter, but Barcelona were ahead of the game and took it for $22m. Spain came to gain a position and achieved it, to the point of effort and goals. In September 2020, after the painful 8-2 that Bayern gave the Blaugrana, the King left, now heading to the Milan team.

Two mediocre seasons, with a third of possible minutes played by the Italian team, put the driver on the starting grid. The same that will become official after June 30, despite the option of a third contract. Today, the player is hesitating between Flamengo’s request or Qatar’s millions.

The clubs agree that the most complicated position to export is that of goalkeeper. Claudio Bravo He broke that paradigm when, in mid-2006 and just 23, Real Sociedad agreed to pay Colo Colo $1.2 million for 75% of his pass.

In his first season with the San Sebastian club, he spent the first six games as a substitute. From the seventh date, that of Viluco took the goal of the San Sebastián team and never let go of it again in eight seasons, in which he missed only 16 calls due to injury. He spent three seasons in the second category (’07-’10), but Barcelona never lost sight of him. Juan Carlos Unzué, former assistant to Luis Enrique in the culé team, asked for him in 2011 and, in the midst of the World Cup in Brazil, the Catalan team managed to buy him for 16.3 million dollars.

He spent two seasons at Barcelona, ​​while Josep Guardiola decided to pay 23 million to take him to Manchester City, mostly due to his modern goalkeeper conditions and his ability to play with his feet. In his first year he played 22 of 38 Premier League games and four of eight in the Champions League. During the second year in the Ciudadanos, he lost the position with the Brazilian Ederson, then suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon, which prevented him from playing from August 2018 to May 2019. During the 19-20 season, he played 17 of 58 games. and in July 2020 he left for Betis.

With the Andalusian side he achieved some regularity, but constant muscle injuries kept him off 21 calls in two years. Despite this, Manuel Pellegrini has him as a staple due to his ability and leadership. At 39, he has extended his contract with the Verdiblancos until June 2023.

Charles Aranguiz had a more erratic start. Coming from Cobreloa’s inferiors, his main support was coach Hugo Tocalli, who first took him to Colo Colo (2009) and then to Quilmes de Argentina (2010). In January 2011, U made a big deal after acquiring half of the Puente Altino pass for just $600,000, while the remaining 50% remained in the hands of Udinese of Italy.

Under the tutelage of Jorge Sampaoli, the midfielder achieved his best performance. He won three national titles and the 2011 South American Cup. In December 2013, the Italian cast acquired the other half of the Prince’s pass for $2 million, which came to Azul Azul’s finances .

In January 2014, the footballer left for Inter from Porto Alegre and in six months the Rio de Janeiro club bought his pass for 8 million dollars. He only managed to play a year and a half with O Colorado. In August 2015, Bayer Leverkusen snapped up the midfielder for a $14.9m payment, despite Leicester City of England offering almost 20.

As soon as he arrived in Germany, he suffered from a ruptured Achilles tendon in his left foot. An injury which forced him to go through the operating room and which kept him away from calls for more than 200 days. Over the next two seasons, he became the German team’s midfield leader, so much so that he barely missed four call-ups due to physical problems.

During the 2018-19 season, injuries returned. This time, it was a knee that left him without playing until the eleventh meeting. In the following tournament, the player suffered a crack in his right foot and a fibrillar rupture, which left him, in total, for more than two months without wearing shorts.

Despite intending to return to South America, the club managed to convince Aránguiz to extend his contract in 2020, a new tie that would have him in North Rhine-Westphalia until June 2023. However, in ’20- ’21 He was out for three months with a muscle injury. In 21-22 the problems continued, this time a calf problem and another muscle strain kept him out for another three months, between the end of last year and the start of this one. Difficulties which even excluded him from important matches of La Roja.

And although the German media were talking about doing without the player, it was recently Rudi Völler, director of Bayer Leverkusen, who clarified that the Chilean will finally fulfill his contract when he is already 34 years old.

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