Portugal midfielder Renato Sanches has won the 2016 Golden Boy award ahead of Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford and Bayern Munich teammate Kingsley Coman.
The 19-year-old helped Portugal win 2016 European championships with eye-catching performances.
Carlo Ancelotti had recommended Sanches to Bayern before the Italian was installed as Pep Guardiola’s successor in the summer. He is however yet to play a full 90 minutes or provide a goal or assist due to injury worries.
The award was established by Tuttosport in 2003 and is voted for by journalists from 30 European newspapers. All nominees must be under 21, play in the top tier of a European league and can only be included if they have not already won it.
Renato Sanches Dedicates Award To His Family
Sanches told Tuttorsport: “I dedicate this Golden Boy to my family.”
“I’m delighted. This reward has global value, but I’m keeping my feet on the ground. I still have a lot to learn, above all from my teammates in a fantastic midfield, like [Arturo] Vidal, Xabi [Alonso], Thiago [Alcantara] and [Joshua] Kimmich.”
On the Champions League, he said: “Bayern will win it, there’s no contest — they are the best team on the planet.”
English Wonderkid, Marcus Rashford came 2nd while French youngster and Bayern teammate, Kingsley Coman came 3rd.
Sanches becomes the first Portuguese player to win the prize. Manchester United’s Anthony Martial lifted the award last year.
Previous winners are: Raheem Sterling (2014), Paul Pogba (2013), Mario Gotze (2011), Mario Balotelli (2010), Lionel Messi (2005) and Wayne Rooney (2004).
Sanches will be awarded the prize at a ceremony on Monday in Monte Carlo.