Rarely does a story read better than this. As a young boy Bebe was cared for by a charity in Loures, Portugal. His parents were unable to consistently provide for him and so passed on the responsibilities to a charity that claimed to be able to do just that. Upon maturity Bebe was unemployed and living rough. Correctly put, Bebe was homeless. Spotted in the lower leagues of Portuguese football, where wages are non existent and training is a matter of running around the park, Bebe was asked to represent the Portuguese homeless side at the homeless World Cup. Bebe excelled and upon his return signed a contract with Estrele da Amadora. A season later, after 4 goals in 26 appearances, he was signed by Vitoria Guimaraes, one of the middle order clubs in Portugal. That was 5 weeks ago.
Yes, just 5 weeks after signing for Vitoria Guimares and a couple of years after appearing in the homeless World Cup Bebe, or Tiago Manuel Dias Correia, has signed for Manchester United, the richest, and probably the most famous football club in the world. The fee is rumoured to be close to £7.5 million, €10 million. Bebe has only had one season of professional football and that was in the Portuguese third division. Nobody can know for sure how he will settle in the English Premier League. His rise, though, is already remarkable.
For Vitoria Guimares he played just 5 matches, all pre season friendlies. He scored 5 goals and was seemingly impressive in each appearance. Real Madrid were rumoured to be close to his signing, Jose Mourinho’s Portuguese contacts allegedly making him aware of the young mans prodigious talents. Manchester United, though, beat Real Madrid to his signature. Somewhat fortunately, for Bebe, and perhaps eventually for Manchester United fans, Sir Alex Ferguson was in Portugal this week testifying on behalf of Carlos Quieroz, his former assistant. Carlos Quieroz is denying allegations that he was abusive to anti-doping officials during the 2010 World Cup and Sir Alex Ferguson offered a character assessment, defending Carlos Quieroz. The next day Sir Alex Ferguson met Bebe and the deal was concluded. It appears that Carlos Quieroz, the Portugal manager, recommended the young attacker to his friend Sir Alex Ferguson and because the Manchester United manager was in Portugal and able to meet Bebe in person he was able to persuade him to join Manchester United, not Real Madrid.
Bebe is only 20 years old. He can play as an offensive attacking midfielder, preferably from a wide position, or a striker. He is unlikely to feature prominently immediately for Manchester United largely in part due to the abundance of attacking talent available to choose from already. The signing is considered one for the future but at €10 million the impression the young man made must have been good. From the streets to Old Trafford. Sir Bobby Charlton, Dennis Law, George Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona, Ryan Giggs, Roy Keane, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney……now Bebe has a chance. Dreams are made of this.