Bayern Munich’s Renato Sanches has taken home the European Golden Boy award, beating Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford and club teammate Kingsley Coman to the accolade.

 

Portuguese wonderkid Renato Sanches was chosen as the European Golden Boy for the year 2016, beating an impressive pool of emerging prospects to the accolade. The title is awarded to the best performing U21 players as chosen by journalists across Europe. After intense speculation in recent weeks, the Bayern Munich midfielder was eventually chosen as the winner.

The award will come as a cherry atop the cake on a wonderful year for Sanches, which included breaking into Benfica’s first team, winning the European Championships with Portugal and sealing a big-money move to Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich.

The teenager will receive the award on Monday during the ceremony at Monte Carlo and will be joined by Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford and Frenchman Kingsley Coman, who completed the Top 3 in the shortlist. Another major favourite for the award was AC Milan’s prodigious goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, who at the age of 17, is taking the Serie A and the world by storm with his incredible exploits between the sticks for the Rossoneri.

MUNICH, GERMANY - OCTOBER 22: Renato Sanches of Muenchen runs with the ball during the Bundesliga match between Bayern Muenchen and Borussia Moenchengladbach at Allianz Arena on October 22, 2016 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)

MUNICH, GERMANY – OCTOBER 22: Renato Sanches of Muenchen runs with the ball during the Bundesliga match between Bayern Muenchen and Borussia Moenchengladbach at Allianz Arena on October 22, 2016 in Munich, Germany. (Photo courtesy: Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Rashford was an English favourite to take the award but he was beaten by a player Manchester United came so very close to signing before the German Champions jumped in. Sanches is yet to live up to his billing at Bayern after completing a £27.6 million move to the Bavarians in a deal that could soon rise to £63 million. Nevertheless, his exploits with Benfica and Portugal alone would have been enough to qualify him for the prestigious honour.

Instituted in 2003, the European Golden Boy award honours board features a lot of the modern footballing greats like Sergio Aguero, Lionel Messi and Wayne Rooney. In recent years, it has been won by the likes of Paul Pogba, Raheem Sterling and Anthony Martial.

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