8. Renato Sanches, Bayern Munich
Position: Central midfielder
The Portuguese midfielder represents the future for Bayern Munich, who lost a Champions League quarterfinal second leg at Real Madrid with the oldest side in the competition’s history. Sanches was born in Lisbon and joined Benfica at 9 years old. After one season with the B team, he trained with the seniors and forced his way into the first team by October 2016. He played so well, that a month later, Benfica handed him a new contract with a €45 million buy-out clause.
Sanches is an all-action, box-to-box midfielder with energy to burn and an eye for goal. He earned a late call to the Portugal squad and put in clutch performances on its way to the Euro 2016 title, scoring in the quarterfinal win over Poland and earning Young Player of the Tournament honors.
Bayern Munich beat Manchester United to his signature last summer, but opportunities under Carlo Ancelotti have been limited. With Xabi Alonso retiring, there will be chances for Sanches to stake his claim next season.
What they're saying:
“He’s got a lot of quality and personality, and a great future ahead of him. He's by far and away one of the best young players in Europe."
– Pep Guardiola, former Bayern Munich coach