Sanchez excites Zamorano ahead of Copa opener

Alexis Sanchez has been picked out as Chile's key player by Ivan Zamorano ahead of the start of the 2015 Copa America.

Ivan Zamorano is excited at the prospect of Alexis Sanchez transferring his club form at Arsenal into the Copa America with Chile. 

Sanchez netted 25 times in all competitions in his first season in English football after his big-money move from Barcelona, including in the 4-0 FA Cup final thrashing of Aston Villa. 

A bust-up with team-mate Marcelo Diaz has this week providing unwanted additional media attention for Sanchez in the build-up to hosts Chile's opening Copa game against Ecuador on Thursday. 

But former Chile striker Zamorano is quick to point out his star qualities. 

"I believe right now he's a key player for us," Zamorano told Goal. 

"From all the Chilean nationals around the world, I believe he is the one who is doing better right now.

"All Chilean football fans were very surprised when he left Barcelona. He left such a big club, but then he landed in England, a very tough challenge for him. 

"He used his skill, his hard work and his toughness to conquer the Arsenal fans, who are now very passionate about him." 

On the eve of the tournament, Zamorano – capped 69 times for his country - has urged expectant Chile fans to be pragmatic, having lost at the quarter-final stage in three of the last four editions of the competition.  

He added: "Our expectations are very high, but we have to be realistic as a team. 

"We always say that Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, even Colombia are very strong but we have the advantage of hosting this Copa America. 

"We really hope that our great talents come back in top form so that the national team can compete with the big boys until the very end to win this Copa America."