Friday, August 13, 2010

Portuguese Youngster Bebe: From Streets to Manchester United

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has once again made the newspaper headlines for a surprising signing. He recently splashed £7.4 million for a relatively unknown Portuguese player named Bebe.

The striker’s experience in top-flight football is restricted only to playing for Estrela da Amadora in Portugal’s Third Division and a few friendly matches for Portuguese club Vitoria Guimaraes.

United boss Ferguson came to know about his talent through his former assistant Carlos Queiroz who is currently at the helm of Portugal national team. Real Madrid was also tracking the 20-year-old versatile player.

Though he was born as Tiago Manuel Dias Correia, he is now better known as Bebe, a nickname given by his elder brother. He was brought up in a children’s home named Casa do Gaiato de Santo Antao do Tojal as his poor parents were unable to provide him a good life.

The most interesting thing is that he did not learn football at a training center or at the youth side of a club. He learned the game just playing on the streets with other street children.

Bebe took part in the European Street Football Festival, held in Bosnia in 2009, and scored 40 goals in 6 games for the CAIS homeless organization.

With a height of 6 feet and 2 inches, Bebe has aerial advantage. He can play in various positions in the midfield as well as in attack. The youngster is quite comfortable playing on either flank. Moreover, he can also operate through the middle as well as a second striker. In fact, Bebe is well-known for his creativity and scoring prowess.

There are many who believe that Sir Ferguson has played a gamble by spending that much money on a player like Bebe whose quality at the top flight football is not yet proven. Well, that is pretty true, but given his upbringing and talent, it seems Bebe could be a future star at Old Trafford.

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