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Renato Sanches: Portuguese Powerhouse

Many players are dubbed the next ‘wonderkid’, but few back it up. Renato Sanches’ exciting performances at Euro 16 showed why the biggest clubs in the world were prepared to gamble €63 million on an 18-year-old with just 24 first team appearances to his name. PDP Technical Advisor, Dan Wright reviews Sanches’ tournament and looks ahead to his time in Germany.

Born in Lisbon to a father from São Tomé and Príncipe and a mother from Cape Verde, Renato Sanches grew up in the impoverished neighbourhood of Musgueira. Here in one of the most problematic areas of the city Sanches started his footballing journey, training with local team Aguias de Musgueira - The Eagles of Musgueira.

The energetic youngster was quickly identified by Benfica and signed with the club aged 11. He progressed through the academy at Benfica and made his debut for the ‘B’ side in October 2014 aged just 16. The midfielder remained with the B side for the start of the 2015­­-16 season, appearing in the UEFA Youth League, but it wasn’t long before he was training with the senior group. Cameo appearances...

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