Renato Sanches 'enjoying football again'

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The opener could not have gone better for Renato Sanches. The Portuguese played a key role in the victory over Paris Saint-Germain last Saturday, netting a spectacular free-kick and turning in a convincing display. "He's very motivated in training, I see it every day. He's been hitting the gas for three weeks, so I'm pleased he turned in a good performance with a nice free-kick goal," Niko Kovac praised the midfielder after the match in Klagenfurt.

During the Audi Summer Tour to the US, the 20-year-old aims to pick up where he left off in the first three weeks of pre-season in Munich. "The US tour is a great opportunity for me," Sanches declared upon arrival in Philadelphia on Monday afternoon local time. After returning from Premier League side Swansea, Sanches aims to "assert" himself and "offer added value" during his second spell at FC Bayern.

"I've become a bit more mature, and Im enjoying football again," the 2016 European champion said at the team hotel. He now hopes to stay "injury-free", unlike in Swansea, to stand up to the tough competition in Bayern's midfield. "I'm aware of the competition, but a new coach always means a new chance. My task is not to hope for appearances but to work hard. Every training session is an opportunity to influence the coach," said Sanches.

Kovac convinced by Sanches' qualities

Kovac has a lot of trust in the youngster: "He'll surely turn in many good displays for FC Bayern this season," the new boss predicted after the victory over PSG. "I know what he's capable of. It's not as if he has forgotten how to play. The boy needs affection and support from everyone, not only his team-mates or the coach but from the whole club. Football is like life itself, you need appreciation and confidence," explained Kovac.

Sanches received support on the way to the US: "Uli Hoeneß talked to me on the plane to Philadelphia. I feel the club trust me a lot. I want to pay it back and represent the club as best I can," said Sanches. Perhaps Philadelphia is the ideal location for the Portuguese. In his scarce leisure time he might run up the stairs to the Philadelphia Museum of Art as Sylvester Stallone did in Rocky, fighting his way to the top.

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