After leaving Bayern Munich to join French Ligue 1 side Lille this summer, Renato Sanches has spoken about his time with the record Bundesliga champions and had nothing but praise for his three-year spell in Munich.
Sanches joined Bayern in the summer of 2016/17 after his incredible showing during Portugal’s victorious UEFA Euro 2016 campaign. The then 18-year-old was a star in the Portuguese midfield, starting in each of their knockout matches during the tournament.
The 17 Bundesliga appearances he made in each of his two full seasons at Bayern – with a loan in the English Premier League with Swansea in between – perhaps hindered fans from seeing the best of the dynamic midfielder during his spell in Germany, but Sanches has no regrets.
"I'd like to thank Bayern Munich again," Sanches said after arriving in the north of France. "That was a club that helped me a lot. At Bayern I learned to never give up, to always work hard and to give my best."
The 22-year-old started six Bundesliga games in his first season as Bayern romped to their fifth consecutive title. Battling for places in midfield with the likes of Thiago Alcantara, Xabi Alonso, Joshua Kimmich and Arturo Vidal, Sanches was left disappointed by his own output.
"I think in my first year at Bayern in the 2016/17 season I wasn’t really ready yet," he said. Sanches’ second season followed a similar story with Javi Martinez also returning from injury, but the Benfica academy graduate felt more prepared.
"I was always ready and in good shape both physically and mentally," Sanches explained. "I don't know why it didn't work. I've not always been the appropriate or best option."
Despite not reaching his goals on the pitch Sanches says he will never forget his time in Munich, which has helped him grown as a person and player.
"Bayern was my club, and I wish them and my former teammates only the best."