- Made Benfica debut in October 2015, as an 18-year-old.
- Scored his first goal on his full home debut at the Estadio da Luz.
- Tipped to have a bright future by Pep Guardiola.
FC Bayern München beat off stern competition to secure the services of coveted Portuguese midfielder Renato Sanches on a five-year deal from summer 2016.
bundesliga.com has the lowdown on the 18-year-old already making waves in European football.
"He's by far and away one of the best young players in Europe," said Pep Guardiola as he plotted a way of putting a cage around the Benfica midfielder when his FC Bayern side faced the Portuguese side in the quarter-finals of the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League. "He's got a lot of quality and personality, and he runs a lot. He's got a great future ahead of him."
That future will be at Bayern after he burst onto the scene in the blink of an eye since making his first-team debut in October 2015 – nine years after joining his hometown club at the tender age of nine.
"Renato is a dynamic midfielder who is strong in the tackle and technically gifted, and he is going to strengthen our team further," said Bayern's CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, announcing that his club had beaten many illustrious rivals to his signature. He added that Bayern had been monitoring his progress for a while – and they were not alone.
Already a star in his first three UEFA Youth League appearances, Sanches took his first-team bow with two brief league appearances before boarding the flight he was expected to be on as part of Benfica's under-19s for a Youth League fixture in Astana, only to get off the plane and pull on the first-team shirt in a 2-2 draw on 25 November.
A month later, in December 2015, he started for the first time at Benfica's iconic Estadio da Luz, and marked the occasion with his first goal, a fine long-range strike. "Surely he's not going to forget this performance," said his coach Rui Vitoria. "Renato was wonderful."
The tenacious midfielder is not one to let his meteoric rise go to his head, however. "I know I still have to develop," he told UEFA.com. "I'm 18. Over time, and with the help of my colleagues, I will improve." Bayern fans will have the pleasure of witnessing that development before their very eyes from 2016/17, when Sanches brings his brazen brand of midfield muscle to the Allianz Arena and the Bundesliga.