The sensational start to his career by Benfica's teenage star Renato Sanches has quickly led to speculation of a move abroad. Tom Kundert writes about the 18-year-old midfield dynamo for UK newspaper The Daily Mirror

Two months ago Benfica’s season looked set to be a shambles. In a country where there are basically three teams that matter, the reigning champions had been badly beaten three times in succession by Lisbon rivals Sporting, Porto had also got the better of them, they were out of the Portuguese Cup and were lagging eight points behind top spot.

It was at this point that 18-year-old Renato Sanches was given his first-team debut by under-fire coach Rui Vitoria. It is no coincidence that the Eagles have since got their act together in highly impressive fashion. Since Sanches became a fixture in the team at the end of November, Benfica have won 11 and drawn one of their 12 matches in domestic play. Read more... your social media marketing partner

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  • Rated 5 out of 5 stars

    Great player, great physique, great attitude.

    He does miss a ton of passes, but that only goes to show that he's not afraid to risk it which is, in my opinion, a positive feature.

    Football is all about taking bold decisions at times in order to create imbalances on the opposite side and Renato Sanches will get better at it as he evolves and gets more experienced. (He's only 18 years old and considered a junior player!)

    He is humble and he has both feet firmly on the ground.
    That comes from his education at Benfica and also from his childhood friends he still hangs out with.

    Since he was informed that he was going to be a part of the main squad this year, Sanches started asking for tips from more experienced players and former-players like Rui Costa and Nuno Gomes.

    Before that Benfica also did their job in getting him mentally, physically and tactically ready for when the big day arrived.

    And... oh boy was he ready when that day finally came!!

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  • Rated 5 out of 5 stars

    Great article! The best thing Benfica has done is slap an 80million buyout. With the club not spending much on the transfer window or their management, I would hope it will decrease the temptation to sell anytime soon. Also his age could keep clubs from wanting to pay that much. However if this kid keeps it up this season you could see someone trying to trigger the buyout.

    Personally it could come down to the Champions League. If he puts on a good show against Zenit and we advance to the quarter-finals, there will be more eyes on him. Sometimes all it takes is a few good performances in a top tournament to get the likes of Real, Barca, United, etc... spending crazy sums.

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  • Guest - Andre/UK

    Yeah for sure, I would think all Benfiquistas are super pleased with what this kid has given to the team so far this season. I don't think I've ever seen a player make such a big impact in such little time, as Renato Sanches has in his super short senior career so far. He has really come out of nowhere (I literally hadn't heard of him before this season started) to an 80 million buy out clause, in just 3 short months!

    I also don't know if I have ever seen such a mature player at that age. The way he plays and the influence he exerts on the rest of the team, you would think he was in his mid-twenties or so, it's astonishing he's only 18. He surely has to be considered for the Euro squad this summer, as there isn't any other Portuguese CM in better form at the moment. He should definitely make the squad for the upcoming friendlies, to be tried out.

    Is the 80 million buy out clause excessive and exagerrated? Definitely yes! But at the same time I'm glad to see the club is starting to put their foot down on players getting sold on the cheap. I think in the last few years we have let quite a few players leave for less than their true worth (i.e Di Maria, Garay, Andre Gomes), and it looks like LFV is intent on making sure that doesn't happen again with Sanches. If some club wants to come and pay a crazy fee like that for him, than of course he would get sold (we're still in debt of course). But the club must start to play more of a hard bargain for the talented players who are always in our squads, and not allow them to get sold off so easily.

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  • Guest - jon/usa

    Andre, I have also been extremely impressed with Renato's performances thus far, but I still think it's a bit premature to be calling for him to get a call up to the Seleccao. He's got all the tools to become a world-class box-to-box midfielder, but he is still very, very far from the finished article. I absolutely love the energy and drive he brings to Benfica's midfield, especially in transition, but his distribution and decision-making need to improve considerably before we can truly consider him a valid contender for a spot on the Euro squad. Again, he's one of the most exciting young midfielders in Europe. His talent and potential are not up for debate. I just don't think he's ready to make the step up to the Seleccao just yet. I would also argue that Joao Moutinho, Andre Gomes, Joao Mario (he's been absolutely superb this season), Adrien Silva, and perhaps even Andre Andre are currently above him in the pecking order at the #8 position.

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  • Guest - Andre/UK

    @jon/usa: well if you read my post again, i wasn't calling for him to be part of the Euro squad per se, I was simply suggesting that he has to be considered as a potential squad member on current form, because to state again, in the last few months there hasn't been a single Portuguese central midfielder in better form than this kid. I think trying him out in the upcoming friendlies would be a good idea to see what he can add to the squad.

    To me if a player is good enough, he's not too young (or indeed too old). Look how the German national team have benefited in recent years from giving opportunities in their squad to young players, even teenagers. I can't see how Renato Sanches is good enough for the Benfica first team (indeed he's been the best player on the first team for the last couple of months), but not ready for the SQUAD of the Selecao. In just a few months he's already shown me that he's a more talented player (or certainly has more potential) than the likes of Adrien or Andre Andre. These are both good players of course, but imo we have other players who do what they do better (i.e Moutinho, Andre Gomes). Sanches has some attributes that no other current Portuguese midfielder has and could really offer us something different in the middle of the park. Again, I'm not at all suggesting that he should definitely be in the Euro squad. But if i were the coach I would definitely try him out in the friendlies coming up.

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