Renato Sanches is the one that got
away, as far as Manchester United fans
are concerned.
United scouted the Portugal teenager for
the best part of a year and it was widely
assumed that he would move to Old
Trafford following the domestic season
conclusion in May. However, as a deal
looked all but done, Bayern Munich made
the surprise announcement that they had
secured the signature of the highly
regarded 18-year-old.
While Sanches tears it up in France,
helping Portugal into the European
Championship semi-finals, a bizarre
storm is brewing, with his age at the the
centre.
The Benfica academy player’s official
date of birth is August 18, 1997, however
now this has been called into question by
Portuguese rivals Sporting Lisbon’s
president Bruno de Carvalho.

According to a local Portuguese
newspaper Jornal de Noticias (via Yahoo
Sports ), while Sanches’ birth date is the
18th of August 1997, his actual birth was
not registered until August 22, 2002, a full
five years later.
This discrepancy has led to sports
commentators rowing in behind Sporting
and questioning if there is in fact
something underhanded going on.
According to investigations by the
Portuguese newspaper, Sanches’ father
left his mother when he was five months
old and only returned in 2002 to deal with
the incomplete birth registration forms.
Sanches’ stature and physical style of
play has lent itself to the far-fetched
notion from some that he is actually older
than he says. Compared to the likes of
Netherlands stars Clarence Seedorf and
Edgar Davids in his bullish style of play,
detractors claim that he cannot possibly
be only 18 and that the confusion around
his birth registration only proves that
something is not right.
Officially, however, Sanches is 18. The
official documents say so and in truth,
the way he puts himself around the field
would certainly suggest it’s just the
exuberance of youth.
If nothing else, it only adds to the aura
around a young man marked for
greatness.

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