Football fans have been keenly following the career of Renato Sanches in recent years.
Rewind to the summer of 2016 and the Portuguese was considered the next best thing in world football, claiming the coveted Golden Boy award and Best Young Player accolade at Euro 2016.
It earned him a move to Bayern Munich with top clubs such as Manchester United also tracking him.
However, it was at that point that his career took a turn for the worst with a troublesome first season in Bavaria eventually seeing him shipped out on loan to Swansea City.
Sanches didn’t fair any better in the Premier League either and produced a number of terrible performances on south Wales, leaving many to think his career had hit rock bottom.
Sanches given second chance at Bayern
Rumours quickly began to circle that Bayern would sell him in the summer and Benfica were linked with welcoming the 20-year-old back to his native Portugal.
In the end, though, it was established that new Bayern manager Niko Kovac would work towards giving him a second chance at the club.
He noted this month: “I will try to integrate him, so that he will be comfortable around here, because when someone feels comfortable, it is much easier to make a good performance.”
Sanches impressed against PSG
And he’s kept to his word by deploying Sanches in Bayern’s pre-season friendly with Paris Saint-Germain.
Albeit a International Champions Cup game, it proved a stern test for the Portuguese and his return quickly attracted attention on social media. For the first time in almost a year, it was for positive reasons.
Sanches penned his name on the scoresheet with an impressive free-kick and was attracting plaudits on Twitter before and after the strike.
Check out his goal and the reaction below:
There could be light at the end of the tunnel, after all.
Nobody wants to see an up and coming player struggle at the top level, so it’s pleasing to witness Sanches showing the talent that elevated him to this position in the first place.
Everybody knows he has the ability to make it at Bayern and he couldn’t have a better impression in his first game under Kovac.
In fact, it was a pleasing afternoon for everybody involved with the German club.
PSG had raced into a first-half lead virtue of Timothy Weah, only for Javi Martinez and Joshua Zirkzee to find the net either side of Sanches’ free-kick.
However, it goes without saying that Bayern are only one game deep into their preparations for the 2018-19 campaign and Sanches will need more impressive performances to make the cut.
Games with Juventus, Manchester City and Manchester United await before the Bundesliga kicks off.
How Sanches gets on in those games could decide whether he goes out on loan or stays and if his career recovers or not.
Do you think Sanches can turn his career around this season? Have your say in the comments section below.