Renato Sanches signed for Bayern Munich before the start of the European Championships for 35 million euros plus extras and is seen by many as one of the most promising young players in Europe. He has gradually played a more and more important role for the Portugal side that has reached the semi-finals and has still not reached the age of 19. Or has he?
Doubts have been raised - not for the first time - on the true age of the player. Frenchman, and ex-manager Guy Roux has claimed that Sanches is actually about six years older. Speaking with Dolce Sport he stated: "He says that he is 18 years old but I believe that we have to look at his past. His date of birth was declared years after he was born, so his registered date is not correct. I can assure you that he is 23 or 24".
The national newspaper Jornal de Noticias conducted an official investigation into this and found that the player's date of birth of August 18, 1997, wasn't registered until 2002. It turned out that the late registration was due to Sanches' parents splitting up when he was just five months old. His father went to France before returning five years later which is when he registered his son's date of birth.
This delay in the process has caused questions before. When Renato was playing for Benfica the president of Sporting, Bruno de Carvalho, made similar claims to Roux.
At the end of last month Sanches spoke to Desporto about the doubts put on his age. "Not everything in football is good. There are those who love you and others who don't," before using teammate Ronaldo and Messi as examples of players who have a lot said about them.
"I grew up in Portugal, I spent 10 years at Benfica, how can I be 25? There is no logic to what some people say."
The player also talked about his national team and how his teammates - including Cristiano who asks how he is doing - are helping him stay relaxed,
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