Renato Sanches is one of the most exciting young talents in European football.
The Portuguese starlet impressed for Benfica last season, earned himself a big-money move to Bayern Munich earlier this summer and has caught the eye at the European Championships in France.
But Sanches has been forced to come out and deny accusations that he is older than 18.
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Guy Roux, who managed Auxerre over a 44-year period between 1961 and 2005, has caused a stir by claiming the Portuguese ace is five or six years older than he says he is.
“He says he’s 18, but I think you should look at the past,” the 77-year-old said in an exclusive interview with Dolce Sport, per Spanish newspaper AS. “His date of birth was declared years after as it was never originally indicated to the registry. I can assure you that he is 23-24 years old.”
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Sanches hits out at age accusations
Sanches has now hit back at Roux’s shock accusations, insisting such claims are nonsense.
"Not everything in football is good. There are those who love you and others who don't," Sanches was quoted as saying by Sapo Desporto, per AS. "I grew up in Portugal, I spent 10 years at Benfica, how can I be 25? There is no logic to what some people say."
Sanches' birth certificate was registered 'five years late'
Portuguese newspaper Jornal de Noticias have done some digging and found that the player’s date of birth - August 18. 1997 - wasn’t registered until 2002.
This was reportedly due to Sanches’ parents splitting up when he was just five months old. His father is understood to have gone to France before returning five years later, when his son’s date of birth was registered.
Sanches is 18 - until it's proven otherwise
While it’s true that Sanches plays with a maturity which defies his tender age, there’s no evidence to suggest Roux’s comments are in any way accurate.
Bayern Munich have signed Sanches on the understanding that he’s a teenager with bags of ability and potential.
The German giants must have felt they have no reason to be concerned about the player’s age and, subsequently, we all must believe - until it’s proven otherwise - that Sanches is as old as his birth certificate claims.
Is Renato Sanches the most talented teenager in world football? Have your say by leaving a comment below.