Real Madrid star reveals secret Arsenal trial and thanks Alexis Sanchez for help

Federico Valverde has revealed that Arsenal passed up the chance to sign him before he joined Real Madrid.

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Valverde made the move to Madrid from Uruguayan side Penarol in 2016 and went on to establish himself as a key player under both Zinedine Zidane and Carlo Ancelotti.

But a year earlier, Valverde was allowed to take part in a week-long trial with Arsenal, although the Gunners, who were managed by Arsene Wenger at the time, opted not to pursue a deal with Penarol.

Speaking ahead of Uruguay’s World Cup qualifier against Chile, Valverde was asked about Alexis Sanchez and the 25-year-old admits he will ‘always be grateful’ for how he was treated by the former Arsenal forward during his brief time with the Premier League club.

‘I have always been grateful to him,’ Valverde said of Sanchez.

‘When I went to train at Arsenal, Alexis was there and he was one of the few who came up to help me.

‘I will always be grateful to him because, being a nobody, I was well received by him. He was there to help me when I was a kid.

‘As a footballer he is an incredible player.’

Sanchez, meanwhile, had hoped to face Valverde in Chile’s World Cup qualifier against Uruguay on Friday but the 34-year-old, who completed a return to Inter on a free transfer last month, is still lacking match fitness.

‘Alexis has undergone medical examinations in relation to his signing and we want to be cautious regarding his physical situation,’ Chile’s head coach Eduardo Berizzo said this week.

‘We are evaluating his health and physical condition carefully. We will decide whether he is included in Friday’s game [against Uruguay] or if we will maintain the hope of having him for Tuesday’s game [against Colombia].’

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