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French football legend claims Portugal star much older than 18

A key player for Portugal in the team’s Euro 2016 campaign, 18-year-old midfielder Renato Sanches has displayed the on-field maturity of a much older player over the past year with Portugal and Benfica. His strong play at such a relatively young age has even caused one former coach to question if he’s really a teenager at all.

In an interview with Dolce Sport, French coaching legend Guy Roux asserted that he believes Sanches is a good five to six years older than he claims to be. Roux explained that the date on Sanches’ birth certificate is likely inaccurate.

“Yes, he says he is 18 years old but he must look at his past.

“Sanches’ birth was declared many years later. The date is not true.

“I believe he is 23 or 24 years old — but he is a very good player.”

Roux managed Auxerre from 1961 to 2005, winning the Ligue 2 title in 1980, then a Ligue 1 title in 1996 and four Coupe de France titles during his near 45-year tenure with the club.

Sanches made his debut with Benfica’s first-team, and went on to score twice in 24 appearances for the Primeira Liga giants before making a big-money move to Bayern Munich at the end of the 2015-16 season.

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