Portugal midfielder Renato Sanches won the coveted 2016 Golden Boy award on Monday, beating competition from Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford and his very own Bayern Munich compatriot Kingsley Coman.
Sanches, a Euro 2016 winner with Portugal, was awarded the prestigious title by Italian newspaper Tuttosport, who since 2003, have run the prestigious competition. The Golden Boy is awarded to a participant who is under 21 years of age, plays for a top-tier European club and has never been a recipient of the award previously.
— Tuttosport (@tuttosport) October 24, 2016
"I'm delighted," he told Tuttosport. "This reward has global value, but I'm keeping my feet on the ground. I still have a lot to learn, above all from my teammates in a fantastic midfield, like Vidal, Xabi, Thiago and Kimmich. The Portuguese midfielder dedicated the award to his family, Tuttosport reported.
Sanches' rise to fame has been predicted for quite a while, especially during his early days at Benfica. Over the summer, Bayern Munich signed him for a reported. He was also rumoured to have been in English giants Manchester United's sights but the 2013 Champions League winners were quicker in their desire and chequebooks. In France at Euro 2016, it was his assured performances while going forward for Portugal in that helped him clinch the award.
The 19-year old hasn't bolted of the blocks in the Bundesliga. His season has been stop-start due to injuries. He is yet to play a full 90 minutes and hasn't racked up any assists or goals. But judging his talent for both ex-club and country, it won't be long before the attacking midfielder comes good and becomes a focal point of coach Carlo Ancelotti's attack. The award ceremony for the Golden Boy takes place in a ceremony in Monte Carlo on Monday.
Earlier Golden Boy winners include Raheem Sterling (2014), Paul Pogba (2013) and if you go way down to 2004 -- Wayne Rooney.
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Updated Date: Oct 24, 2016 20:01:21 IST