Niko Kovač on Renato Sanches: “I’m incredibly happy for the boy.”

Making his debut under Niko Kovač, 21-year-old Renato Sanches impressed against former club SL Benfica, finally looking like the player Bayern Munich spent €35 million on in 2016.

The Euro 2016 Young Player of the Tournament has struggled to impress in Germany but with injuries to Thiago and Corentin Tolisso, Sanches had a chance to shine in the Champions League, where he scored an outstanding goal.

Joshua Kimmich, via Sky, on Benfica fans’ reaction: “It was unbelievable. I have never experienced something like that. I’m just happy for the boy. It did not always work out for him. But he played a great game and I take my hat off for him.”

Kovač on telling Sanches he will be playing: “I spoke to Renato at noon today and told him that he will start. I told him: Take it easy, you’re at home here, it’s your family. I also wished him to score two goals. I’m incredibly happy for the boy.

“The boy can play football, we all know that. I’ve always said that a young player takes time to integrate. He is happy now. I said his time will come, his time has come. He is getting started.”

Sanches on his goal against his former club: “I am so happy to come back to Lisbon. Playing this game was very important to me. I just want to thank Benfica and the fans. For me, this moment is so special, it was important to me. Thanks to Benfica and also Bayern Munich.”

 

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