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The Blaugrana forward has starred for Chile at the World Cup, but his national coach fears the abundance of attacking talent at Sanchez's club could put the brakes on his progress

By Ben Hayward in Belo Horizonte

Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli says Alexis Sanchez can be one of the world's best players - but believes he may be restricted by the likes of Lionel Messi and Neymar at Barcelona.

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The 25-year-old has become his nation's shining star after scoring 23 goals in 69 international appearances since 2006, but has struggled at times since moving to the Catalan club in 2011.

And while Sanchez has impressed for La Roja at the World Cup so far, Sampaoli says the player's development is being hampered by the level of competition at Camp Nou.

"With Chile, Alexis knows he is a decisive player," Sampaoli said ahead of his side's last-16 clash with Brazil on Saturday. "He is very highly thought of - a superlative player.

"But perhaps at Barcelona, with the team-mates he has and all the great players there, it is more difficult. But for me he has all the conditions to be one of the best players in the world: assists, goals, dribbles, everything...

"He can still get much better than he is at the moment and he'll be one of the key players in club and international football over the coming years."

Sampaoli also confirmed that while midfielder Arturo Vidal is not fully fit for the round-of-16 clash against Brazil, the Juventus midfielder will be in his side to face the World Cup hosts.

"Arturo will play against Brazil," he said. "He is nowhere near 100 per cent fit, but he's a guarantee, an emblem.

"For Juventus in the Europa League [last season] he played at 30 or 35 per cent fit and he's the kind of player who can do that. He's doing everything he can to be involved. Against Spain he also made an enormous effort to be ready for the game."

The news on Gary Medel was less positive, however, with the coach set to make a last-minute decision on the 26-year-old's fitness.

"He has a muscle problem and we'll have to see how it develops," the Argentine added. "If the game were today, he wouldn't play. But luckily both he and Arturo are fast healers, so we have hope. We'll see how he is tomorrow."

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