Renato Sanches Wins Euro 2016 Young Player of the Tournament: Stats and Reaction

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 11, 2016

PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 10: Renato Sanches (top) and Portugal players celebrate their team's first goal during the UEFA EURO 2016 Final match between Portugal and France at Stade de France on July 10, 2016 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Portugal's Renato Sanches has been named the Young Player of the Tournament for UEFA Euro 2016.

The Euros' official Twitter feed announced the news after the Selecao's victory over France on Sunday:

UEFA Nations League @UEFAEURO

Congratulations @renatosanches35! SOCAR Young Player of the Tournament! #PORFRA #POR #EURO2016 https://t.co/1m6fQx9C9h

Per UEFA, Sanches' appearance at the Stade de France aged 18 years and 328 days made him the youngest player to feature in a European Championship final—breaking the record held by Cristiano Ronaldo that was set at Euro 2004 at 19 years and 150 days old.

Naturally, he also became the youngest player to taste victory in the final after Eder fired Portugal to glory in extra time—the previous holder of that record being Italy's Pietro Anastasi, who scored in and won the 1968 final aged 20 years and 63 days.

Sanches—who made a big-money move to Bayern Munich from Benfica prior to the tournament—impressed with his dynamic, powerful and energetic play as he sought to make things happen in the middle for his team.

Indeed, despite the teenager only breaking into Benfica's senior team last season, his performances frequently belied his tender age.

Portuguese football writer Jan Hagen hailed his recent achievements:

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Jan Hagen @PortuBall

Renato Sanches at the age of 18: - Liga & cup title with Benfica - €35m move to Bayern - European Champion Beast https://t.co/fD0G0evvfi

Here are his final tournament stats, per Squawka:

Renato Sanches Euro 2016 Stats
Chances Created5
Pass Completion85%

At his new club, the youngster faces the task of trying to break into a midfield already boasting the likes of Xabi Alonso, Arturo Vidal, Thiago Alcantara and Joshua Kimmich, who will likely put up stronger competition for places than his team-mates for Portugal.

Nevertheless, Sanches has every chance of doing so if he can put in the showings he's capable of.

Even if he doesn't begin the season as a regular starter, he's sure to have plenty of opportunities as Bayern balance domestic and European responsibilities deep into the long campaign.

Sanches looks to have an incredibly bright future ahead of him, and this award only confirms that.


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