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More than 30 Chilean soccer stars will play in Europe next season

The most popular destination is Italy, where nine of Chile's best players will be taking to the field in 2011/2012

Friday, August 12, 2011  
Chile's boy wonder, Alexis Sánchez, will be playing in Barcelona next season. (Photo: Globovisión/Fl Chile's boy wonder, Alexis Sánchez, will be playing in Barcelona next season. (Photo: Globovisión/Flickr)

Chile's soccer stars are making their presence felt in the sport's wealthiest tournaments, with more than 30 players preparing to play in European leagues next season.

Drawing the most attention is FC Barcelona's latest recruit, Alexis Sánchez, whose signing with the Spanish and European club champions in July created headlines around the world.

The 'Niño Maravilla', or Boy Wonder, will join a number of other Chilean stars in Spain's La Liga including national goalkeeper Claudio Bravo at Real Sociedad, Fabián Orellana at Granada, Gary Medel at Sevilla and Manuel Pellegrini who coaches Málaga.

In England's Premier League, Gonzalo Jara will play his first game for West Bromwich against Manchester United later this month, while Jean Beausejour will play in the second division for Birmingham.

“It's very difficult to win the English Premier League,” Jara told CNN Chile. “At the end of the day, you have to have the points and it doesn't matter how you get them. Next year 84 points will definitely be enough to win the championship. We weren't able to get that many last year but if you have 84 points you will take the title.”

The most popular European destination among Chile's elite footballers is Italy, where nine of the country's soccer players have joined teams in the Serie A championship.

They include Arturo Vidal at Juventus, Carlos Carmona at Atalanta, Felipe Seymour and Cristóbal Jorquera at Genoa, Mauricio Isla at Udinese, Nicolás Córdova at Brescia, Mauricio Pinilla at Palermo, David Pizarro at Roma and Jaime Valdés at Parma.