Mentioning the name Renato Sanches to fans of English football and it’s a moment of comedy that comes to mind the most.
Playing a game at Chelsea while on loan with Swansea City, Sanches mistook the red Carabao energy drink logo on a billboard for a colleague in a red shirt and duly passed the ball straight out of play.
Despite his head-in-hand reaction away from home, Swansea coach Paul Clement at least had the good grace to wait until half-time before snagging the Portuguese midfielder.
Renato Sanches was embarrassed while playing for Swansea against Chelsea in 2017 when he mistook his red-shirted teammates for a sponsor logo and passed the ball to him.
It marked the low point of a terrible loan spell for Sanches as his career plunged
Swansea manager Paul Clement reacts to Stamford Bridge pass
It was November 29, 2017. Just 16 months earlier, Sanches had played a leading role in his country’s unexpected triumph at Euro 2016 and won a £ 30million transfer to Bayern. Munich.
Two months later he had left Marcus Rashford, Kingsley Coman and Ousmane Dembele behind as he won the prestigious European Golden Boy award.
Now his hugely promising career had collapsed in no time at that embarrassing trough. No doubt Sanches must have dug a map to locate Swansea when Bayern sent him there. Was he good enough even for them as his form faded?
It seemed too classic, too young. Sanches was 20 at the time, gripped by injury, hopelessly disconnected and unwanted from the big club who had moved to sign him even before he was dazzled at a major tournament. The brilliance of his game was gone.
Fortunately, that was not the end of the story. His career path has continued since leaving Bayern for Lille in 2019 and on Wednesday night Sanches scored his first international goal in more than four years.
However, Sanches rebuilt his career and scored his first goal for Portugal in four years.
Sanches brought home after Cristiano Ronaldo help in Lisbon 7-0 win
His confidence was restored by the increased playing time after leaving Bayern Munich for Lille
Fair enough, he came against Andorra, one of seven Portugal stuck in front of the minnows in a friendly at Estadio da Luz, the home of his first club Benfica. But it will certainly do the trick for now.
It appears that Sanches’s lost promise has been found. In January, he was linked with a return to the Premier League with Wolves, this enclave of Portuguese players, on the back of good form in France.
If that would have represented a career coming full circle – from the Premier League to the Premier League – the true trajectory of Sanches’ career has seen more ups and downs than a roller coaster. And he is still only 23 years old.
The rise in power had been rapid for the kid Benfica signed at nine years old from the junior club Aguias da Musgueira for 750 € and 25 balls.
Shortly after his senior debut in October 2015, Benfica signed him to a new contract with a release clause of almost £ 40million. They knew they had a talent in their hands.
Sanches broke into Benfica’s first team at the age of 17 who could lead the midfielder
He was then excellent at Euro 2016, helping Portugal to win the tournament by beating France
It soon became clear why. Not only has this 17-year-old fought battles in the midfield – living up to his nickname El Bule, the pot in which water is boiled due to its sturdiness, given by his grandmother – but was able to score world-class goals.
As is often the case with talented young players emerging at Benfica, the big European clubs quickly sniffed. Bayern were the quickest on the sidelines, signing Sanches on the eve of Euro 2016 for £ 30million plus a potential of another £ 35million.
Manchester United were one of the interested clubs Bayern beat on signing and Sanches said at the time: “ I think everyone knows there was an offer from Manchester United but there was others. I chose Bayern because they are a great club and I will win titles. ”
It soon became clear why Bayern paid as much as Sanches played a leading role in Portugal’s victory at Euro 2016 despite only making his international debut in March of that year.
Here is a player with the world at his feet, seemingly without nervousness in the greatest of games. He has scored against Poland in the last eight games and started the final against France, which Portugal won 1-0 thanks to a goal from another flop from Swansea – Eder – in overtime.
Sanches (second from right) was bought by Bayern Munich ahead of the tournament for £ 30million
But his time with Bayern has been extremely frustrating with limited opportunities
Sanches may have won the Golden Boy in the heat of the Euro triumph, but his time at Bayern quickly turned into a disappointment.
He failed to register a single goal or make 25 appearances in his debut season and only started four Bundesliga games, finishing just one.
It didn’t help that Bayern were already boasting of Arturo Vidal, Thiago Alcantara and Xabi Alonso in their midfield, leaving a precious little opportunity.
Manager Carlo Ancelotti was under pressure to clinch another Bundesliga title and the young players were therefore not favored, while Sanches also had problems learning German.
It was against this backdrop that Sanches was loaned to Swansea in August 2017, despite Ancelotti’s promises to stay at the Allianz Arena.
His Premier League loan season with Swansea has been worse as his career declines
Getting Sanches looked like a real coup for Swansea but turned out to be very different
Clement had worked with Ancelotti at various clubs and he seemed to have pulled off a real coup, but Sanches endured another disappointing season.
Hounded by injuries and inconsistent form, he has only played 15 games for Swansea.
“It was not my choice to go to Swansea. I was forced to go, ”he later admitted. “They gave me everything, but I didn’t want to be there.
“The most difficult moment? When I was injured I couldn’t train. It was the descent; you no longer feel the motivation.
There was a brief recovery after returning to Bayern – he even scored against former club Benfica in the Champions League – but he quickly fell into the background.
At the start of the 2019-2020 season, Sanches was in turmoil to move away from Bayern. He admitted it in a TV interview, angering President Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. He was also fined 10,000 euros for missing a training session.
Sanches fidgeted to move away from Bayern and eventually joined Lille last year
But eventually he was cleared to escape, joining Lille for £ 21million and after overcoming a hamstring injury, the former Sanches’ confidence quickly returned.
Taking over the former position of Nicolas Pepe following his stint at Arsenal, the Portuguese has rediscovered the old daring of his game and has started to find himself in dangerous positions again.
The Ligue 1 season has been cut short due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with Lille narrowly missing Champions League football in the points-per-game calculations.
A good start to the season saw him recalled to the Portuguese squad in October for the first time in two years and his goal against Andorra will be seen as another step in the right direction.
He has since enjoyed more playing time and rediscovered the lost joy of his game.
“ Honestly, I feel better than a few years ago when I signed for Bayern, ” said Sanches The voice of the North Last week.
“Simply because I play more, and when I play more, I have more confidence in myself. This is really what has changed.
The connection with wolves before the January window is hardly surprising. Sanches is a client of agent Jorge Mendes, who plays an advisory role in club Molineux transfer transactions.
If the move comes to fruition, one can only hope that the Premier League midfielder’s second crack will be more successful than the first.