Renato Sanches' age has once again come under doubts about after Frenchman and ex-manager of the French national team, Guy Roux has claimed that Sanches is actually six years older than the 18 years he claims to be.
Speaking with Dolce Sport about the Portuguese player, Guy said, "He says that he is 18 years old but I believe that we have to look at his past. His date of birth was declared years after he was born, so his registered date is not correct. I can assure you that he is 23 or 24".
A Portuguese national newspaper, Jornal de Noticias, conducted an investigation into Roux's claims after which they published results that showed that Renato Sanches' date of birth of August 18, 1997, wasn't registered until 2002. The late registration of his date of birth has been attributed to the fact that Sanches' parent had split up five months after his birth and his father only registered him after returning from France five years later.
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This delay in the registration of his birth date has raised questions before. When Renato was playing for Benfica the president of Sporting, Bruno de Carvalho, made claims similar to Roux's.
Renato Sanches however continues to rubbish all claims of age-cheating
Speaking on the doubts about his age to, Sanches has used teammate Ronaldo and Messi as examples of players who have a lot said about them by "malicious" people. "Not everything in football is good. There are those who love you and others who don't", he said in an interview with Desporto.
"I grew up in Portugal, I spent 10 years at Benfica, how can I be 25? There is no logic to what some people say."
Players cheating over their ages in world football is a problem the authorities have been struggling to get to grips with for a long time. A January report by Swiss football monitoring agency CIES, named Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon as African countries that have failed to progress in football due to endemic age cheating.