Renato Sanches, a (real) playing card

Renato Sanches, a (real) playing card

FOCUS- Held back by injuries, the 25-year-old Portuguese is fit to face the amateur club Pays de Cassel this Monday (8:45 p.m.), in the Coupe de France.

He is a player who has qualities that others do not have.“. For having known him in Lille, like Luis Campos, Christophe Galtier was well placed to write the article about the one who was still a new recruit at the beginning of August, Renato Sanches. A player “very explosive, very hard-hitting, with impact and the ability to break lines, catch shots defensively too“, continued the Parisian coach. Except that we haven’t seen any of this since the arrival of the 25-year-old Portuguese international (32 caps, 3 goals). Beginnings with a bang, with this goal a few moments after his first entry against Montpellier (5-2), then injuries and disappointing performances. New year, new Renato? In any case, he is fit for this 16th final of the Coupe de France against Pays de Cassel (6th division), this Monday (8:45 p.m. on beIN SPORTS). And probably even holder.

Considering that it would bestupid“to turn too much despite the level of the opponent, Galtier intends to align”the best possible teamin Lens. It will be without Leo Messi (rest), Marco Verratti, Presnel Kimpembe or even Nordi Mukiele (injured), but with the former Benfica nugget, who will be keen to prove himself. “Everyone must regain their state of form and performance, as before the World Cup“, underlines “Galette”, not really delighted with the level of performance since the recovery, with these two setbacks (Rennes, Lens) in Ligue 1. In less than a month, Bayern Munich will present themselves at the Parc des Princes, in the knockout stages of the Champions League. No time to waste.

There are three parameters concerning Renato: the lack of preparation which generated some muscle problems, integration into the group and the team.

Christophe Galtier

And since the midfield is still under construction, with Vitinha stagnating, Fabian Ruiz regressing, Danilo Pereira often used behind and Carlos Soler who does not have the level of his statistics, Renato Sanches has a card to play. Especially since Paris lacks percussion, threat on strikes from afar, verticality. A card to play if the Portuguese becomes the player he was in Lille, the one that AC Milan tried to recover last summer, the one who was among the best hopes in Europe when he landed at Bayern at 19 years, in 2016, after having been part of the European champion group in selection. It would be necessary to stay away from the infirmary, to chain the matches. “There are three parameters concerning Renato: the lack of preparation which generated some muscle problems, integration into the group and the team. This explains why we have not yet seen the great Renato that I knew in Lille“, tempered Christophe Galtier in November, expressing his confidence in the hatching of his foal.

At the end of December, the 56-year-old technician was still saying to himself “convincedof the return of Renato, not selected by Fernando Santos for the World Cup in Qatar, to his best level. “I have no doubt that he will find the level that was the breast in Lille. During this truce, he showed that he was not far from his best level“, he said.

Mental Health

Progress once again halted by an injury to the thigh. This is already what had ruined his Munich adventure, even if Renato does not regret anything. “I made the right choice by choosing Bayern, but I did it too soon. I didn’t expect to go through what I went through, like getting hurt in my first practice. I feel lonely, I’m hurt, I’m 19, mentally it’s obviously not right“, he said in recent weeks, in an interview with Views in which he mentions in particular theMental Health“. Something of “fragile“, he assures. “All it takes is one bad game for you to lose your spirits. You have to find ways to be positive beyond performance, you have to believe in yourself“, he said, he who had already been asked by PSG before and who had not hesitated to take a step aside by going to relaunch in Swansea before Losc.

Renato Sanches has already missed 10 injury matches with PSG. MAHMOUD HEFNAWY / AFP

There is no doubt that with so many injuries and disappointed hopes, the morale of the 2021 French champion has been put to the test since his debut at 18, with Benfica. In a country that he “love“, with a coach he knows by heart and in a very Portuguese-speaking locker room (he speaks French), Renato has everything to succeed. Even if the places are expensive.

I never got the real reasons for his injuries.

Christophe Galtier on Renato Sanches

There remains this question of the physical. And since it’s not new, it’s a subject. “I never got the real reasons for his injuries. They are not related to work overload, the accumulation of playing time, weight or lifestyle. He is an athlete who has a good diet, who likes to train and is seriousassured Galtier in 2021, in the columns of the newspaper The Team. But he tenses as soon as we mention the fact that he is a holder or a substitute. It’s not stress. Rather annoyance. He has never had major injuries on end runs, tackles, changes of pace or direction. But small sores on checks or conservation exercises. He would do well to consult someone who would allow him to relax. Leaves to do a lot of work on himself.»

This is perhaps an avenue to explore for Renato Sanches, whom we saw well again last year, against opponents of the caliber of Chelsea in C1 or… PSG in L1, that he has the qualities to evolve in the highest level. It is up to him to demonstrate that he has his place in Paris. It starts with this duel that looks like a clash of extremes against Pays de Cassel. A match which should also be marked by the return to business of his compatriot Nuno Mendes, touched at the World Cup. A player who did not ask any questions when he arrived in Paris and imposed himself immediately. This is the destiny dreamed of by Renato Sanches, who still has everything to prove in Rouge et Bleu.