|Date of birth:||
April 18, 1997
Renato Júnior Luz Sanches ComM (Portuguese pronunciation: [ʁɨˈnatu ˈsɐ̃ʃɨʒ]; born 18 August 1997) is a Portuguese professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for German club Bayern Munich and the Portugal national team.
He began his career at Benfica, making his professional debut for the reserves in October 2014 and for the first team in October 2015. In his only season for them, the team won the Primeira Liga and Taça da Liga. He then agreed a move to Bayern Munich for an initial €35 million, the then highest fee for a Portuguese player leaving the domestic league.
Sanches won 40 caps and scored 8 goals for Portugal at youth level. He made his full international debut in March 2016 and was chosen for UEFA Euro 2016 in France, at the age of 18, making him the youngest Portuguese to play in an international tournament, and the youngest player to win a Euro 2016 Final. He scored one goal during the competition and won the Young Player of the Tournament as Portugal captured the title for the first time in their history. He was the recipient of the 2016 Golden Boy Award.
International career Edit
Sanches gained 40 caps for Portugal all youth categories comprised. He represented Portugal in the 2014 UEFA European Under-17 Championship, helping them reach the semi-finals, where they lost to eventual winners, England. He was named in the Team of the Tournament.
On 18 March 2016, he was called up by Fernando Santos for the senior squad to play friendlies against Bulgaria and Belgium. He debuted for Portugal as a 76th-minute substitute for William Carvalho in the 0–1 loss against Bulgaria in Leiria, and shortly after he was greeted by a fan who invaded the pitch.
UEFA Euro 2016 Edit
Sanches was called up for UEFA Euro 2016, making him the youngest Portuguese to be selected for an international competition, breaking a record held by Cristiano Ronaldo for 12 years. He made his competitive debut on 14 June in the team's opening game against Iceland in Saint-Étienne, replacing João Moutinho for the final 19 minutes of a 1–1 draw. He contributed to the only goal of the match in a 1–0 extra-time victory in the last 16 against Croatia on 25 June, and was elected man of the match. Observing that performance, former international player António Sousa stated "When he's on the ball you don't notice how young he is. Physically and mentally, he is more than ready" and Santos exalted Sanches as a player immune to pressure.
Five days later in the quarter-finals against Poland, he took Ronaldo's record as the youngest Portuguese to start in a major tournament. After a one-two with Nani, he shot from outside the box and equalised in the first half to become the youngest player to score in a knockout game at the European Championship and the third-youngest overall. Following the 1–1 draw, he scored Portugal's second attempt in their penalty shootout victory, and was again elected man of the match. Following the game, his teammates Nani and José Fonte praised Sanches' stamina, confidence and desire to learn from his elders. After his nation's 1–0 extra-time victory over hosts France in the final of the tournament, Sanches received the Young Player of the Tournament Award for his performances.
Sanches and striker Eder were notable Euro 2016 winners cut from the squad for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia. Sanches went to the 2017 UEFA European Under-21 Championship instead.