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Sanches wary of Austria dangerman Alaba

Renato Sanches highlighted David Alaba as a key threat to Portugal as his country aim to kick-start their Euro 2016 campaign against Austria on Saturday.

Fernando Santos’ men were held to a 1-1 draw by Iceland in Saint-Etienne, while Austria failed to get a point on the board as they were stunned 2-0 by neighbours Hungary in Bordeaux.

Defender Danilo sustained a back injury during the Iceland match but joined a full complement of outfield players for training at Portugal’s Marcoussis team base on Thursday.

Cristiano Ronaldo appeared to be in a jovial mood, at odds with his frustration after two points were dropped against Iceland.

Sanches broke Ronaldo’s record of being the youngest player to feature for Portugal in a major tournament when he came on for the last 20 minutes against Iceland aged 18 years and 301 days.

The midfielder, who completed a move to Bayern Munich from Benfica ahead of Euro 2016, could find himself locking horns in Paris with new club-mate Alaba, someone he holds in the highest regard.

“David Alaba is a great player who can play in several positions,” Sanches told a news conference.

“He has great capabilities I think he is one of the best in the world in his position. The game with Austria will be difficult.”

Sanches insists he is ready to perform if called upon to start and rejected suggestions that the high-profile nature of his transfer might lessen his focus on Euro 2016 – although he also expressed an interest in playing at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

He added: “Every footballer has his style of play, each can help the team differently. My transfer to Bayern did not move me, I’m still the same. It did not affect me at all. 

“I feel good, I feel great. If I have my chance, I will give my best. I think I’m well able to play. Only the coach may decide.

“The coach gives us confidence and says to take the game without fear, make good decisions and play forward.”

Sanches added: “Going to the Olympics has not been discussed, but I would love to go – it’s a very special competition.”

Thu 16 Jun, 2016
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