Bayern Munich midfielder, Renato Sanches has won the European Golden Boy award, the annual award handed out to football’s most talented young player.
The 19-year-old has joined the likes of Wayne Rooney, Raheem Sterling, Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero in winning the award for Europe’s best player aged under 21.
Manchester United hotshot, Marcus Rashford and Sanches’ Bayern team-mate Kingsley Coman complete the podium, while Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma makes the top 10 and is the only Italian representative.
The prize, voted for by journalists across Europe, was established by Italian newspaper Tuttosport in 2003, who revealed this year’s winner on their front page.
Sanches has played eight games for the German champions this season, having joined in the summer for £27.5 million, and has 11 caps for Portugal.
At Euro 2016 – then aged 18 – he became the youngest player to feature in a European Championship-winning side and won the Young Player of the Tournament award.
He becomes the first Portuguese player to win the award after Cristiano Ronaldo finished as runner-up behind Rooney. Sanches told Tuttosport after he was announced the winner:
“I’m beaming, this award has a global significance, But I am down to earth, I have much to learn mainly from my fantastic team-mates such as Vidal, Xabi, Tiago and Kimmich.
“I dedicate the Golden Boy to my family. The Champions League? Bayern will win, there is no debate: we are the strongest team on the planet.”
The award will be presented at a ceremony in Monte Carlo on Monday.
Nigerian duo Kelechi Iheanacho and Alex Iwobi were also nominated alongside 38 others for this year’s edition of the Golden Boy award. They are the first Nigerian players in history to be nominated for the award.
Others shortlisted for the award includes: Dele Alli, Marko Grujic, Lucas Hernandez, Kingsley Coman, Moussa Dembele, Youri Tielemans, Leroy Sane, Ousmane Dembele and Gabriel Barbosa among others were all on the initial 40-man shortlist.