Renato Sanches beats Marcus Rashford to 2016 Golden Boy award
The Bayern Munich and Portugal midfielder Renato Sanches has been named 2016’s European Golden Boy, beating Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford into second place.
The annual award for Europe’s most impressive footballer under the age of 21 is run by the Italian newspaper Tuttosport, who will present the trophy to Sanches at a ceremony in Monte Carlo on Monday night. The 19-year-old, who joined Bayern in the summer from Benfica for an initial €30m and helped Portugal win Euro 2016, beat off the challenge of 39 other players on the shortlist to follow in the footsteps of former winners including Wayne Rooney, Mario Balotelli, and Paul Pogba. He becomes the first Portuguese player to win the award after Cristiano Ronaldo finished as runner-up behind Rooney.
“I’m beaming, this award has a global significance,” Sanches told Tuttosport. “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.”
But after Anthony Martial’s triumph last year, Manchester United had to make do with second place despite Rashford’s brilliant breakthrough year at Old Trafford. The France and Bayern winger Kingsley Coman finished third, with Milan’s teenage goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma also in the top 10.
Alex Iwobi of Arsenal and Dele Alli of Tottenham Hotspur were among the other Premier League players to make the shortlist.