There has been lots of hype around SL Benfica’s Renato Sanches this season and the 18-year-old is being widely linked with Manchester United.
As most of us don’t watching the Portuguese League very often we seldom get to see him in action but Tuesday night’s Champions League action gave us an opportunity to watch him play against Bayern Munich.
Up against one of the strongest midfielders in world football in Arturo Vidal on the biggest stage, Sanches held his own and the majority of fans were impressed with what they saw.
Benfica tremendous up middle with Ederson, Lindelöf & Jardel in fine form plus Renato Sanches deserving of hype. Jonas out for 2nd leg alas.
— Derek Rae (@RaeComm) April 5, 2016
Renato Sanches is miles ahead of Pogba at 18. Bossed Bayern’s midfield all by himself tonight. Que jogador.
— RG (@registability) April 5, 2016
Renato sanches showed glimpes of what were getting tonight 👌👏
— TheRedDread (@j_scotts_mind) April 5, 2016
Really liked the look of Renato Sanches against Bayern. Certainly wouldn´t think that he´s just 18 years old.
— Marcel Siferlinger (@MaSi_Red) April 5, 2016
Renato has struggled against better opposition previously, but he's been lively tonight. Can't believe he's only 18. pic.twitter.com/PG0dDQglvs
— Jan Fredrik Hagen (@PortuBall) April 5, 2016
Sanches is an archetypal box-to-box midfielder, that’s what has made him such a crucial cog in Benfica’s season, and you saw glimpses of that against Bayern. The mere fact he held his own up against one of the world’s best midfielders is testament to himself and all age the ripe age of 18.
That being said, not everyone felt Sanches played overly well:
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) April 5, 2016
For me, it was not a case of expecting Sanches to set the world alight at the Allianz Arena, I just wanted to see if he was overawed by the occasion and he looked more than comfortable.
Haven’t seen much of Renato Sanches in action? Here’s a video showing some of his best bits from this season:
Judging a players’ ability on one performance is always a hard thing to do but his temperament is a fairer reflection of how much confidence he has in himself which is always half the task for any young player.
Anthony Martial‘s incredible start at United goes to show that the right teenager can make the step up at a big club straight away but will Sanches follow in his footsteps? Unless you have been under a rock, you’d have seen the growing rumours linking Sanches with a move to United and no doubt those will continue in earnest, especially if he gets a place in Portugal’s squad for Euro 2016.
Either way, Sanches will be happy with how he played against Bayern Munich and we’ll be keen to see how he gets on in the second leg back in Portugal with the tie finely balanced at 1-0. He’ll be tasked with keeping Vidal quiet that night if Benfica are to have any chance of surprising Bayern.