We’ve been really worried about Renato Sanches for the last couple of years.
The youngster was once considered one of the most promising wonderkids in the game, even winning the much-coveted Golden Boy award in 2016 – ahead of the likes of Marcus Rashford and Gianluigi Donnarumma.
Playing a key role for Benfica in their 2015/16 title win before impressing during Portugal’s Euro 2016 triumph, it seemed this kid would fast-become one of the best players in the world.
But a big-money move to Bayern that summer seemingly dislodged his development and was followed up by a dreadful loan spell with Swansea last season.
In fact, Sanches was so bad for the relegated Premier League side that he infamously passed to an advertising hoarding instead of one of his team-mates in a clash against Chelsea back in November.
He hardly played after that, with his confidence seemingly at an all-time low.
Fans and experts alike figured this could be the end for once shining light of Portuguese football.
This summer, he moved back to Bayern following his loan-spell and we all wondered where he’d end up.
But it seems the German giants aren’t ready to give up on him just yet.
Speaking about Sanches’ return to the club back in May, Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said: “Renato’s coming back.
“He’s had a couple of difficult years, which I believe are linked to him winning the Golden Boy award after the 2016 Euros. We were absolutely convinced of his qualities two years ago so we’re not going to give up on him now.”
And he’s not wrong, with the 20-year-old handed a place in the starting line-up for Bayern’s first pre-season friendly against Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday.
And you might want to whisper this, but playing in a somewhat second-string side, Sanches was easily the best player on the pitch.
It looks like his confidence is back, as he used his once-famed strength and agility to control the midfield; he didn’t even misplace any of passes.
Best of all, he scored a brilliant free-kick just after the hour-mark to put Bayern in the lead.
Now of course, this is pre-season and we all know that pre-season is utter bulls***.
But still, it’s universally pleasing to see him playing so well and with such confidence, considering how poor he’s looked recently.
The fans are happy, too: