By Alex Demarco

When teenage sensation Renato Sanches was announced as the winner of the European Golden Boy award earlier this week, it capped off what has been an incredible year for the Bayern Munich midfielder.

It was only last October that the youngster made his first appearance for Benfica’s first team but since then has become a Primeira Liga and European championship winner.

In May, the German champions announced that they had agreed a £27.5 million deal to take him to Bavaria, beating Manchester United to the 18-year-old’s signature.

Now, he has followed in the footsteps of current Ballon d’Or holder Lionel Messi and the world’s most expensive player Paul Pogba, in being handed this prestigious individual award.

However, Sanches would do well to look at the careers of previous winners, particularly that of Anderson, to know that future success is not guaranteed.

In 2008, the 20-year-old Brazilian was the recipient of the same honour, just a few months after leaving the Portuguese league to join a major European side, with Sir Alex Ferguson taking him to Old Trafford in a deal worth £20 million.

An energetic, box-to-box midfielder, the former Porto man was widely considered to be one of the hottest prospects in world football.

However, despite becoming popular with the fans, injuries and fitness problems hampered Anderson’s eight-year stay in Manchester.

He failed to hold down a regular place in the starting line-up, before eventually moving back to Brazil, joining Internacional in February 2015.

In the past year, Sanches has given us glimpses of what he is capable of, forcing himself into the first XI at the European Championships for Portugal, where he scored the winning goal in their quarter-final win over Poland, before earning a starting berth in the final.

So far, the youngster has made a steady start to life in Germany and under Carlo Ancelotti has the perfect opportunity to fulfil his undoubted potential.


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