The 2018/19 season looks set to be a crucial campaign in the career of Portuguese midfielder Renato Sanches, as the former Benfica prodigy looks to finally assert himself in Germany with Bayern Munich.

Sanches signed for the Bundesliga champions from Benfica in May 2016, shortly before Portugal’s European Championships triumph in France. The youngster’s performances for the Seleção at the tournament suggested that the Germans had pulled off a major coup, and Sanches was issued the Golden Boy award at the end of that year.

However, despite then Bayern coach Pep Guardiola describing Sanches as "one of the best young players by far in Europe” with “a big future ahead of him” the €35m signing struggled to find his feet at the Allianz Arena, leading to a loan move to Swansea in the English Premier League during the second half of last season.

Now back in Germany, Sanches told the club’s TV station he is delighted to have returned to one of Europe’s giants. "I'm ready to play here this season," he said. “I'm very happy to play at Bayern Munich, it's a great experience and a great honour for me. Bayern are one of the best clubs in the world – anybody would love to be in my shoes, playing for Bayern Munich.”

Perhaps some cause for optimism for Sanches has been the words of Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, who confirmed the 21-year-old’s return in May. “He's had a couple of difficult years, which I believe are linked to him winning the Golden Boy award after the 2016 Euros. We were absolutely convinced of his qualities two years ago so we're not going to give up on him now."

Sanches may also draw inspiration from a change of coach, with Niko Kovac stepping into the Bayern dugout this summer. "Of course I'm happy with the new coach – it's a new opportunity for me to show what I can do again," Sanches said. "He's a coach who pushes his players to perform, and that's something I'm very happy about, because I know I can fulfil the expectations.

"It's a big club, always challenging to win titles and with a great history. It's an honour to be back playing here. My smile was always there, I've never lost that, but now I feel that I'm more mature, so maybe that gives me a different perspective on a lot of things.”

No weaknesses 

Sanches is yet to be named in a Bayern match-day squad so far this campaign, but after featuring for his country during the international break he will be hoping to be involved as Bayern face Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday.

The midfielder certainly does not seem to lack for confidence. Asked by FCB.tv what his biggest weakness is, the Portuguese replied: “I have no weaknesses. I am strong.

"My aim is to play here and stay at Bayern as long as possible. I feel very happy here and it's an honour for me since Bayern are one of the best clubs in the world – anybody would love to play here and I want to work hard now and give everything I've got."

For their part, Bayern will be expecting a return on their investment, but Rummenigge is positive about the future. "Niko will try and bring him back to his old strength," said the Bayern chief. "It's an exciting project."

By Sean Gillen

 

Comments (11)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Who else has Kovac taken under his wing? No one. Who else has he chosen to as his "pet experiment?" No one. Sanches is insurance, at best. Where is he realistically on the depth chart? Seventh? Portuguese players should steer clear of Italy and...

Who else has Kovac taken under his wing? No one. Who else has he chosen to as his "pet experiment?" No one. Sanches is insurance, at best. Where is he realistically on the depth chart? Seventh? Portuguese players should steer clear of Italy and Germany. I still have my doubts, too, whether they should be playing in England. They're better off playing in Spain and France, oh yeah, and in Portugal. I almost forgot about Portugal. Does Portugal still have a league?

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Ok, I've been hearing a lot of this "Portuguese players should steer clear of Italy and Germany" argument for a while, and let me be the first to say: I disagree.

Guess what fellas (and ladies), players from Portugal also fail in Portugal and...

Ok, I've been hearing a lot of this "Portuguese players should steer clear of Italy and Germany" argument for a while, and let me be the first to say: I disagree.

Guess what fellas (and ladies), players from Portugal also fail in Portugal and Spain. Let's not act like the Serie A and Bundesliga are some sort of "death knell" for Portuguese players.

Let's look at a list of players that have succeeded in each for some perspective:

Germany: Fernando Meira, Vieirinha, Raphael Guerreiro, Bruma, Ricardo Costa, Petit, Paulo Sousa.

Italy: Rui Costa, Figo, Bruno Fernandes, Sergio Conceicao, Fernando Couto, Bruno Alves, Jorge Andrade, DANILO PEREIRA (it's true), Joao Cancelo, Mario Rui, Paulo Sousa, Miguel Veloso. They all did well or fantastically in Italy.


The truth is, there are many factors that determine how well or badly a player does on any team.
- the manager's will
- the pricetag of the player
- weather/culture
- the player's attitude
- fans
and so on.

Renato's problem, in my estimation, can be seen on the headline of this article. For a player barely in his 20's to say he has no weaknesses is arrogance, hyperbole and nonsense. For his sake, I hope he puts in the work so he can turn things around.

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Chris-
Are your lists just of players who've played in those leagues? Because really, most of those names were never standouts in those leagues. Another thing, you're hearing it first here. Ronaldo's move to Italy was and still is his ongoing...

Chris-
Are your lists just of players who've played in those leagues? Because really, most of those names were never standouts in those leagues. Another thing, you're hearing it first here. Ronaldo's move to Italy was and still is his ongoing death knell. He should've never left Madrid, not at thirty-three.

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Danny, I'm not trying to be a mean person here, so I ask this question legitimately: Are you serious? There are dozens more players that did not make that list.

How are none of those guys standouts to you? Paulo Sousa alone is an antithesis...

Danny, I'm not trying to be a mean person here, so I ask this question legitimately: Are you serious? There are dozens more players that did not make that list.

How are none of those guys standouts to you? Paulo Sousa alone is an antithesis to your argument: not only was he a smashing success BOTH in Germany and Italy, but he won the Champions League with Juventus in 1996 and then he won the Champions League again the very next year with Dortmund, in 1997.

Bruno Fernandes was a nobody who made his name in Italy, that's where Sporting went to go get him. Rui Costa was already good at Benfica but became a beast in Italy. Same for Fernando Couto (Porto).

More recently, Vieirinha was surplus to Porto and made his name in Germany. Fernando Meira, one of the top 4 CB's of the seleccao in the 2000's won the Bundesliga with Stuttgart and was a rock for Portugal.

Do I need to go on? It's easy for one or two players to complain about a league as Joao Mario did, but frankly, that's his case. Each case is different.

Do you think Portugal and Spain are wonderlands that just cultivate talent and don't chew people up and spit them out? Ryan Gauld joined Sporting in 2014, was hailed as the Scottish Messi. You ever heard of him? Where is he now? Diego Costa, yes that Diego Costa, played for Braga and Penafiel then Braga again. He was considered "not good enough".

Roberto, at one point the 3rd most expensive GK in the world, was a "flop" at Benfica. Imbula joined Porto from France and at the time was hailed as the next Patrick Vieira. Where is he now? Adrian Lopez arrived at Porto as well, fresh off a Champions League final and regular starter for Atletico Madrid, in his prime. How many times has he played for Porto?

As I mentioned, each case is unique. For sure, some players, such as Andre Silva and Joao Mario get raw deals. But that doesn't mean they cannot flourish just because of the league. Also, I agree 100% with Nick, Ronaldo's problem is that Allegri is a poor man's Unai Emery (and that isn't saying very much), and has zero clue what to do with him.

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I'm with Chris on this one - Serie A isn't the death of Portuguese players at all. The recent case of Joao Mario has more to do with Internazionale playing him out of position as this article shows (which I have posted a link to before) https://ww...

I'm with Chris on this one - Serie A isn't the death of Portuguese players at all. The recent case of Joao Mario has more to do with Internazionale playing him out of position as this article shows (which I have posted a link to before) https://www.serpentsofmadonnina.com/2018/8/16/17697132/joao-mario-footballs-new-mousa-dembele

Joao Cancelo did well at Inter last season (as did Figo and he's still there!) however and is improving at Juve so the argument just doesn't work. Miguel Veloso played well at Genoa - he's a player i'd regularly tune in to watch. The players at Wolves are doing just fine so the Portuguese can do well in England also - Ricardo Perriera is another one and Adrien Silva is still adapting.

Renato Sanches needs to shut his mouth and work his feet/brain!

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..and Cristiano was never going to be scoring 40+ goals a season in Italy as, unlike most of the rest of Europe, they know how to defend. I'm not convinced Allegri knows what to do with him in relation to the other players either - he cant just...

..and Cristiano was never going to be scoring 40+ goals a season in Italy as, unlike most of the rest of Europe, they know how to defend. I'm not convinced Allegri knows what to do with him in relation to the other players either - he cant just attempt to copy the tactical set-up at Madrid as the players aren't the same.

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I don't really know if this is confidence or arrogance.
Saying "I have no weaknesses" is arrogant only if he doesn't work to improve his factual weaknesses.
Using tools like imagery does work for some athletes. It works for Cristiano but he...

I don't really know if this is confidence or arrogance.
Saying "I have no weaknesses" is arrogant only if he doesn't work to improve his factual weaknesses.
Using tools like imagery does work for some athletes. It works for Cristiano but he isn't an arrogant fool.

IMO if this is a statement with new confidence than I will cheer Renato on. It's time for him to come to fruition and realize his potential. So far he's been a manbaby so good for him if he is really ready to fight.
Only time will tell if this is an arrogant statement.

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Sanches should tone down his arrogance and reinvent himself to earn a place in match-day squad regularly

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@Chris and Danny, you guys both bring up great points and depending on the day I could side with either of you. I guess that’s the point of being as knowledgeable as we are about these things, I literally can change my mind any given month or...

@Chris and Danny, you guys both bring up great points and depending on the day I could side with either of you. I guess that’s the point of being as knowledgeable as we are about these things, I literally can change my mind any given month or year. Anyways, I think Renatos problem is his brain hasn’t caught up with his body. He has everything you could want in a box to midfielder, seriously he has every athletic trait but he doesn’t have the end product or final decision to make the difference consistently. What we saw at the euros and a little bit at Benfica was a kid with raw athleticism and an endless motor. Using his athleticism and getting the most from his brain is the key here. That’s just an obversatiom but I believe that to be true with many young athletic players.

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Chris, the only way for his mind to catch up to his body, is for him to consistently problem solve his way out of match day scenarios. There are no "experiments" or practice conditions that can replicate this.

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Renato Sanches will have a tough time in competing with the likes of Ribery, Robben and Thiago

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