Renato Sanches

Renato Sanches may have played his last game for Benfica, but he still had some work to do this summer before heading to Bayern Munich. The 18-year old capped his stunning breakthrough season by lifting the Euro 2016 trophy with Portugal, as Fernando Santos' side edged past France in a tense final at the Stade de France. He was also named young player of the tournament after a string of mature performances.

The Lisbon-born youngster began the tournament as an impact substitute, playing 19 minutes of the 1-1 draw with Iceland and 45 minutes of the 3-3 draw with Hungary, as Portugal toiled during the group stage.

He entered the round of 16 tie with Croatia as a 70th minute substitute, claiming the man-of-the-match award with a typically energetic performance as Quaresma broke Croatian hearts with a dramatic late winner in extra time.

Next up was the quarter-final against Poland, and ex-Benfica coach Fernando Santos could no longer resist the temptation to hand Renato a start. He was duly rewarded with another man-of-the-match performance; the midfield dynamo levelled the scores with a sweetly-struck (albeit slightly deflected) left-footed shot in the 33rd minute, and he confidently dispatched his spot-kick in the ensuing penalty shootout.

Renato retained his place for the semi-final against Wales, completing 74 minutes as Portugal ran out deserved 2-0 winners thanks to goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani,

And so it came to the Final, played against the host nation in front of 80,000 fans in Paris. After a slightly sloppy start, Renato settled into the game and put in an excellent shift before he was sacrificed for Éder in the 79th minute. The unfancied striker broke the deadlock with just 11 minutes of extra time remaining, and Portugal wrote themselves into the history books by winning their first major trophy.

Throughout the course of the competition, Renato smashed a host of records. Having only made his international debut in March, the Bayern-bound midfielder became the youngest player to attend a major tournament with Portugal, breaking Cristiano Ronaldo's record. He also became the third youngest scorer in European Championship history, the youngest player to appear in a European Championship Final, and the youngest ever winner, aged just 18 years and 326 days.

Eliseu also picked up a winner's medal in France. The 32-year old's involvement was limited by the excellent form of Dortmund-bound defender Raphaël Guerreiro, but he still completed two games, with Guerreiro nursing a thigh injury. The Benfica man was widely criticised for his display against Hungary, and received mixed reviews for his performance against Poland.

 

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