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 By Mark Lovell

Renato Sanches beats Marcus Rashford to Golden Boy prize

Portugal midfielder Renato Sanches has won the 2016 Golden Boy award ahead of Manchester United's Marcus Rashford and Bayern Munich teammate Kingsley Coman.

Bayern signed Sanches on a five-year deal from Benfica in May for €35 million plus add-ons before the 19-year-old caught the eye with a series of scintillating performances for Portugal at Euro 2016.

Sanches beat off strong competition from United's rising star Rashford and France winger Coman for the prestigious Golden Boy prize, which was established by Tuttosport in 2003 and is voted for by journalists from 30 European newspapers.

All nominees must be under 21, play in the top tier of a European league and can only be included if they have not already won it.

Carlo Ancelotti had recommended Sanches to Bayern before the Italian was installed as Pep Guardiola's successor in the summer, and he has since labelled the midfielder "a phenomenon" and "one of the best players at Euro 2016."

After picking up an injury at Euro 2016, Sanches is yet to play a full 90 minutes or provide a goal or assist for the German champions, but he did enough to convince the judges to award him the prize.

"I'm delighted," he told Tuttosport. "This reward has global value, but I'm keeping my feet on the ground. I still have a lot to learn, above all from my teammates in a fantastic midfield, like [Arturo] Vidal, Xabi [Alonso], Thiago [Alcantara] and [Joshua] Kimmich.

"I dedicate this Golden Boy to my family."

On the Champions League, he said: "Bayern will win it, there's no contest -- they are the best team on the planet."

Third-placed Coman, 20, currently on loan at Bayern from Italian champions Juventus, made a total of 35 appearances, scoring six and laying on a further 12 goals under Pep Guardiola in his double-winning debut season with the Bavarians.

The first Portuguese player to ever win the award, Sanches is in select company. Manchester United's Anthony Martial lifted the award last year, while previous winners include Raheem Sterling (2014), Paul Pogba (2013), Mario Gotze (2011), Mario Balotelli (2010), Lionel Messi (2005) and Wayne Rooney (2004).

Sanches will be awarded the prize at a ceremony on Monday in Monte Carlo.

Mark Lovell covers Bayern Munich for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @LovellLowdown.

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