Gabriel Mercado apologises for tackle on Alexis Sanchez

The 29-year-old Argentinian makes peace with the Arsenal winger after horror tackle in Copa America final.

Gabriel Mercado apologises for tackle on Alexis Sanchez
Alexis Sanchez is tackled by Gabriel Mercado. | Photo: Getty Images

River Plate defender Gabriel Mercado has apologised to Alexis Sanchez after his tackle left the Chilean with a severely swollen ankle.

The incident took place in the first half of extra-time during the Copa America Centenario Final, a match that Sanchez' Chile won on penalties, proving to be the catalyst for Lionel Messi's international retirement.

Speaking to La Nacion after the Final, the Argentinian defender said that he "apologised to him [Sanchez] when he finished the match, it was an action of strong play," before going onto say that he has "never intended to hurt anyone."

Arsenal to start prepare for pre-season friendlies

Whilst the injury is set to put off Sanchez' return to pre-season training with Arsenal, the winger assured Arsenal fans that he is on the mend. It does mean that he may miss Arsenal's first pre-season friendly, against the MLS All Stars in San Jose on 28 July.

Sanchez posted a picture of his inflammed ankle on his Twitter last week with the caption: "Fourth day of my vacation, locked in the hotel bored. But I'm much better."

The damage done to Sanchez's left ankle | Photo: Twitter - @Alexis_Sanchez
The damage done to Sanchez's left ankle | Photo: Twitter - @Alexis_Sanchez

Mercado, 29 has been attracting interest from Liverpool in the wake of his recent performances. Although River Plate President Rodolfo D'Onofrio has expressed his desire to keep the Argentine at the Monumental, after a move to Mexican club Monterrey broke down, it shouldn't halt Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp from making a move for the defender, who has a valuation of £4 million and can play on the right side or in the centre with equal competency. His contract is up at the end of 2017.

Sanchez meanwhile is expected to sign a contact extension with the Gunners, a deal that will tie him down to the Emirates until 2020. The former Barcelona winger endured a stop start season last time out, scoring 17 goals and creating 11 over the course of 41 matches in all competitions.