Renato Sanches' ears must have been burning after his performance in Bayern Munich's opening International Champions Cup fixture against Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday.
Sanches scored Bayern's second goal with a stunning free-kick as the Bundesliga champions ran out 3-1 winners in Klagenfurt, Austria. It was the 20-year-old's first outing in a Bayern shirt since returning from an ill-fated loan spell with English Premier League side Swansea City.
"He's been going full throttle these last three weeks," said Bayern head coach Niko Kovac after the game. "I'm delighted he played so well and scored such a wonderful free-kick. He certainly hasn't forgotten how to play football."
Sanches joined Bayern from Benfica after helping Portugal win UEFA Euro 2016 in France, where he also scooped the tournament's Best Young Player award. The tank-like midfielder was unable to replicate his eye-catching displays in his debut season in the Bundesliga, however, and spent the majority of the ensuing campaign on loan at Swansea.
As before, his best form eluded him and there was even talk he might have played his last game for Bayern, despite having a contract until summer 2021. Happily, new coach Kovac wasn't about to pass up the chance to work with one of European football's brightest talents.
"I know him and I know what he's capable of," said Kovac, who swapped Eintracht Frankfurt for Bayern earlier this summer. "It's not easy for young players from abroad - you have to take that into consideration. He certainly hasn't forgotten how to play football. He's not a difficult lad, but he needs affection and support from all sides. Footballers need recognition and to be given confidence just like the rest of us."
In that sense, Sanches' all-action run-out against the reigning Ligue 1 champions should do him the power of good ahead of the 2018/19 Bundesliga campaign. His days of warming the Bayern bench could be behind him.
Defender David Alaba, meanwhile, highlighted the Portuguese youngster's exemplary attitude in training: "He's working really very hard. You can see he has a lot to give and he's focussed. He showed that in the game. He can be an important player for us."