Renato Sanches will be the first to admit that football isn't all sunshine and rainbows. The Portugal whizz-kid's accelerated career trajectory has hit the skids since he joined Bayern Munich on the back of winning UEFA Euro 2016, but with the new season comes another chance to restore his prodigious reputation.
bundesliga.com has the skinny on a player who - judging by his performance against Paris Saint-Germain in the International Champions Cup - is more than capable of reaching the very top...
Club: Bayern Munich
Country: Portugal (13 caps)
Sanches caught Bayern's eye in his breakthrough 2015/16 season at Benfica, where a series of muscular displays (24 in total) helped them to the Portuguese league title. That same year, he won Euro 2016, picking up the Young Player of the Tournament prize and later collecting the Golden Boy award as the best young player in Europe. Since then, however, the hulking box-to-box midfielder has made just 34 appearances for club and country: 26 for Bayern, 15 during a loan spell in the English Premier League with Swansea City and three for Portugal.
Plays a bit like: Clarence Seedorf
A box-to-box midfielder with the strength of a WWE heavyweight and the nimble feet of a ballet dancer, Sanches is very much in the Clarence Seedorf - the retired Netherlands legend and only player to have won the UEFA Champions League with three different teams (Ajax, Real Madrid and AC Milan). He also comes complete with an impressive range of passing, an absolute rocket of a shot and loves nothing more than to drive at opposition defenders. If he had wheels, he'd probably be a bulldozer with a V8 engine.
Did you know?
Sanches had played just four times for Portugal when he was called up by head coach Fernando Santos for Euro 2016. The Benfica academy product featured in all but one of The Navigators' games at the finals, scoring on his full debut in the quarter-final win against Poland. And how about this for a stat? He is the youngest player in history to play in a European Championship final.
What they're saying
"There is no question that he has qualities, he showed that before and that's why Bayern signed him. I'm excited to work with him, because he has qualities you don't see very often in the Bundesliga." - Bayern head coach Niko Kovac
"He's had a couple of tough years, but we were absolutely convinced of his qualities two years ago and we're not going to give up on him now." - Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge