Renato Sanches has revealed that he still dreams of winning the Ballon d’Or but admits that prospect is further away now than it was three years ago.
Sanches was one of Europe’s hottest properties back in 2016 as he starred for Benfica and played a crucial role in Portugal’s European Championship win that summer.
A move to Bayern Munich followed, but having failed to adapt to life in Germany, he was sent out on loan to Swansea City.
That season-long switch was a disaster and the midfielder went back to Bavaria last summer with his future at the top of the game in doubt.
Coach Niko Kovač has worked hard to rehabilitate the 21-year-old this season though, and has given the youngster brief cameos from the bench.
Sanches however, is hopeful that he will be back to his very best soon.
“My first season at Bayern wasn’t ideal. I know that. I heard what people were saying about me,” the 21-year-old said writing in the Player’s Tribune.
“Football in Munich, and in Germany as a whole, is so different.
“In Portugal, I would just run and run and run because I had the technical ability and awareness to make up for any fatigue.
“In Germany, you can run, but the game is so fast that it has to be coordinated otherwise you’ll get caught out of position. Everything was just… different.
“The worst part was that, as hard as I tried, I just couldn’t find my game. I went to Swansea in 2017 because I needed to play. I needed minutes.
“I wanted to make sure the national team saw me playing a lot in a strong league so they could select me for the World Cup. But in Wales… it’s just like everything went wrong.
“[But] last summer, playing with Bayern again, I feel like I began to find my game. I had these big goals after we won the Euros. I wanted to win the Ballon d’Or, win all these medals and trophies.
“And I still have those ambitions.”