Renato Sanches Wins 2016 Golden Boy Award: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistOctober 24, 2016

MUNICH, GERMANY - OCTOBER 19:  Renato Sanches of FC Bayern Muenchen looks on prior to the UEFA Champions League group D match between FC Bayern Muenchen and PSV Eindhoven at Allianz Arena on October 19, 2016 in Munich, Bavaria.  (Photo by Boris Streubel/Getty Images)
Boris Streubel/Getty Images

Bayern Munich's Renato Sanches has been announced as the winner of the 2016 European Golden Boy award, beating the likes of team-mate Kingsley Coman, Manchester United's Marcus Rashford and Tottenham Hotspur's Dele Alli.

Voted for by European football journalists and awarded to the best under-21 player on the continent, Sanches, 19, was confirmed as the winner on Monday by the gong's organisers Tuttosport (via Goal). 

Sport Witness provided Tuttosport's breakdown of the 30 voters' choices:

Sport Witness @Sport_Witness

Gianluigi Donnarumma got 2 #1 votes, as did Ousmane Dembélé. Kingsley Coman, Dele Alli & Mahmoud Dahoud all got one.

Sport Witness @Sport_Witness

The full list: https://t.co/yaavEwokVg

Previous winners have included Anthony Martial in 2015, Paul Pogba in 2013, Sergio Aguero in 2007 and Lionel Messi in 2005. 

Sanches enjoyed a breakout year in 2016, winning the Primeira Liga with Benfica before his big-money summer move to Bayern and playing a key role for the Portuguese national team as they won UEFA Euro 2016.

Having appeared only as a substitute for the first four of Portugal's Euro 2016 matches, he started the quarter-final against Poland—in which he scored—the semi-final against Wales and the triumphant final against France, eventually being named the Young Player of the Tournament:

UEFA Nations League @UEFAEURO

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

Sanches has displayed a maturity beyond his years in the centre of midfield during 2016, with his confidence on the ball and passing range the mark of a true talent.

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It is little surprise that he was pursued by a number of Europe's top clubs before making the move to Bayern, including Barcelona and Manchester United, per Andy Burton of Sky Sports News HQ.

Per Bleacher Report's Sam Tighe, Sanches was a deserved winner of the award despite fierce competition from a variety of other impressive young talents:

Sam Tighe @stighefootball

An impressive shortlist, but it was always going to be Renato Sanches for the #GoldenBoy award. What he has done in 2016 is phenomenal.

As well as Rashford, Alli and Coman, AC Milan's 17-year-old goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, Borussia Dortmund winger Ousmane Dembele and £37 million Manchester City midfielder Leroy Sane were other notable contenders, per Tuttosport (via Sport Witness):

Sport Witness @Sport_Witness

The 2016 Golden Boy nominations contain several Premier League players, in a list of very talented youngsters. https://t.co/m7fzFxLxrm

Sanches' importance to the achievements of both his club and country in 2016 edged him ahead of the pack, and Bayern have done brilliantly to snap up such a huge talent, who could be a key player for them in the coming decade.


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