Queens Park Rangers defender Mauricio Isla has tipped Alexis Sanchez to surpass Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo and establish himself as the best player in world football, and says his international team-mate can achieve that ambition at Arsenal.
The Chilean winger has enjoyed a sensational start to his career at the Emirates Stadium, netting 18 goals in all competitions for Arsene Wenger's side so far this season, helping the Gunners to third place in the Premier League table.
Sanchez has also helped Arsenal book their place in the FA Cup semi-finals where they'll play Championship outfit Reading at Wembley next month, the latest challenge in the north London club's bid to retain the only domestic trophy they've won over the past decade.
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The former Barcelona star was unable to prevent Wenger's team from crashing out of the Champions League, though, despite recording an impressive 2-0 victory away at AS Monaco last night.
A 3-1 home defeat against the Ligue 1 opponents in the first leg left the Gunners with a difficult task to advance to the quarter-final stage and ended up exiting thanks to the away goals rule at Stade Louis II.
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Sanchez endured a frustrating night in the Principality, but that shouldn't take away from the fine contribution he's made during his debut campaign in England, something that Isla believes is just the start of things to come from the South American sensation.
"I have known him for ten years and I think Alexis has shown what he is made of," the QPR ace explained in an interview with the London Evening Standard. "He has always said that he wanted to be the best in the world and now he has arrived in a team where this can truly become a reality.
"He can build confidence and where they play for him and he transmits the confidence that his teammates give him but honestly, I am not at all surprised by the quality of Alexis as a player."
Earlier this week Sanchez and Isla were both included in Chile's 20-man squad to play a friendly against Brazil at the Emirates Stadium on March 29, with another lower-profile clash against Iran to follow in the same international break.
Asked about what it's like to play alongside a player of the £130,000-a-week Arsenal star's quality, the Loftus Road loanee didn't hold back in heaping praise on his compatriot.
Tipped for the top
"If we were to talk about his characteristics, we could be here all day but for me, I love playing with a player who's so bold, who is a fighter, runs for 90 minutes and always loves training," he added.
"I have heard from many of his Arsenal teammates also that he never tires in training or on the pitch and this is fundamental for the team."
Arsenal fans: Do you agree with Mauricio Isla's assessment that Alexis Sanchez can become the world's best player? Will Arsene Wenger struggle to keep hold of the Chilean if he takes his game to the next level? Share your thoughts below…
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