In the summer of 2010, Manchester United made one of the most surprising and shocking transfers in the history of world football. Tiago Manuel Dias Correia signed for the Red Devils for a reported £7.4 million from Portuguese outfit Vitória de Guimarães.
If you’re still confused as to whom this player is then you may know him better as Bebe.
If you still don’t know who he is, then that sums up this player’s impact with the club in his two-year spell so far.
Described as a ‘fairy-tale story’ by United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, when the deal was announced, it has been far from that since.
The 22-year-old’s career is a well-documented rags to riches story that you could picture being made into a Hollywood movie. Does anyone remember the Goal trilogy – as an example?
From his homeless background, to scaling the Portuguese leagues, to becoming an under-21 Portuguese international and signing for one of the biggest clubs in the world – the progress has been staggering in such a short space of time. However, the question has to be asked – has it all come too soon for Bebe?
In his debut season for Manchester United he made just only seven appearances, three of them starts, scoring twice - once in the Carling Cup and also in the UEFA Champions League.
His last appearance in that 2010/11 campaign came in the 1-0 uninspiring fifth-round victory over, then non-league outfit, Crawley Town in the FA Cup. Bebe’s anonymous display courted a lot of discussion as he failed to impress and by this point a lot of people were questioning Ferguson’s ‘fairy-tale’ purchase.
Last season, Bebe was sent on loan to Turkish side Besitkas. Although during that campaign I would have liked to have seen Bebe further nurtured at United, I could understand the reason for the deal. Unfortunately, for all parties concerned, the year abroad didn’t go to plan as he made only four appearances in total – injuries and club disciplinary problems limiting his game time.
Three games into pre-season and the Red Devils no. 33 has impressed so far; scoring the 92nd minute equaliser against Ajax Cape Town of South Africa and providing the match-winning assist against Shanghai Shenhua of China.
It appears that Bebe is determined to force his way into manager Sir Alex Ferguson’s plans and I hope he does. I feel every player has to have time to prove himself at the Theatre of Dreams and hopefully Bebe will do so.
If he were to leave United, it would likely be a step down for him and although his talent would see him perform well at another club, performing for a club of the same stature may not come again.
A key reason as to how he will fare this season will depend on the position he plays in. Playing as a forward, rather than a winger, is Bebe’s favoured role and his form in pre-season has suggested he may have a future with Manchester United there. The only problem for the Portuguese though is that in his position he has to contend with Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck and co.
Athletic, tall, strong and quick Bebe has all the attributes needed to succeed at Old Trafford. Time will only tell though if he does, in what could be seen as a make or break season for the 22-year-old.
By Luke Augustus @Luke_Augustus29