Manchester United Flop Bebe's 10 Most Memorable Moments in Football
In the summer of 2010, Premier League giants Manchester United announced the arrival from Vitoria de Guimaraes of unknown Portuguese forward Tiago Manuel Dias Correia, AKA Bebe, causing more than a few raised eyebrows in the process.
And four years on from that shock announcement, we take a look at the player’s 10 most memorable moments in football so far…
Arriving at the Theatre of Dreams
After having scored five goals in just six pre-season matches for new side Vitoria de Guimaraes, and amid reported interest in his services from European heavyweights Real Madrid and Benfica, Bebe agreed a five-year £12,000-per-week contract with Manchester United for an undisclosed fee believed to be worth £7.4 million.
And so in the blink of an eye, the then-20-year-old, who had been living in a homeless shelter on the outskirts of the Portuguese capital, had sealed a dream move to Old Trafford and the biggest and most successful football club in Britain.
Maiden Start, and Goal, for the Red Devils
Bebe had to wait until Oct 26 for his first actual start for the Red Devils; however, it was worth the wait as the player managed to mark the memorable occasion by also scoring his debut goal for United in a 3-2 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers in a League Cup fourth-round tie at Old Trafford.
Just Champion for Bebe in Bursaspor
And just a week later on Nov 2, Bebe was also then handed his UEFA Champions League bow by manager Sir Alex Ferguson in a group-stage clash away at Turkish outfit Bursaspor, with the youngster going on to reward the Scot’s faith in him by netting the visitors’ final goal in a comfortable 3-0 win.
Your Country Needs You
A few weeks after arriving at United in August 2010, Bebe was then called up to the Portugal Under-21 squad for the very first time to face both England and F.Y.R. Macedonia in back-to-back 2011 European U21 championship qualifiers.
And according to the attacker, that occasion was one of the proudest moments of his whole life, with Bebe telling Sky Sports at the time: "I have realised a dream. I am very happy.
“Playing with the U21s will help my development. If I play against England U21s it will be incredible."
Breaking His International Duck
On September 7, 2010, Bebe got off the mark for his country after finding the back of the net in what was only his second-ever appearance for the Portugal U21s in a 3-1 home win over F.Y.R. Macedonia in their final 2011 European U21 championship qualifier.
Bebe Proves Himself a Knockout at Rio Ave
In January 2013, the Portugal U21 international returned to his homeland on a six-month loan move to Rio Ave in order to get some much-needed game time.
And once again the winger managed to mark his full debut for his new team by hitting the target, on this occasion a second-half winner to help knock Maritimo out of the Taca da Liga 1-0, while at the same time sending Rio Ave through to face Portuguese giants FC Porto in the semi-finals of the competition.
Catching the Eye Back Home
After being shipped out by new United boss David Moyes on a season-long loan to Portuguese Primeira Division strugglers Pacos de Ferreira last September, the striker has since responded in spectacular style to the disappointment of seemingly being made surplus to requirements at Old Trafford.
In January, Bebe scored a wonder goal to earn an unexpected point away at Sporting Braga after smashing in a long-range effort from the edge of the area with the outside of his boot, leaving stunned Portugal international Eduardo with no chance as the ball flew into the top left-hand corner of the net.
Bebe’s form in front of goal has continued to catch the eye in recent months as Pacos de Ferreira have moved away from the Portuguese Primeira Division drop zone.
In particular, the forward turned in a stunning man-of-the-match performance to help his team beat fellow strugglers Olhanense 3-1 at home in February, with Bebe’s memorable individual strike just before the break giving the hosts a crucial 2-0 lead.
Picking up possession inside his own half, the 23-year-old proceeded to then dribble his way into the opposition box, before calmly finding the top corner of the net with a neat side-footed finish. The goal perhaps served to remind observers just why United signed the player in the first place.
Take a Bow, Son
Last month, the Portuguese starlet was at it again in another huge relegation six-pointer against Arouca, with Bebe registering a brace in his side’s vital 3-1 win at home.
However, it was the attacker’s opening strike that will live long in the memory. He audaciously back-heeled the ball over his startled marker’s head with one foot, before unleashing an unstoppable volley past a helpless Arouca keeper with the other.
And boy could United now do with a bit of creativity, inspiration and inventiveness like that at Old Trafford.
Are You Watching, CR7?
Clearly Bebe is currently enjoying his new lease of life with Pacos de Ferreira, who are now managed by former FC Porto and Portugal skipper Jorge Costa, as seen by his recent comments.
“I’m going through a very happy phase in my life and in my professional career. I still hope to return to Manchester, I have a year left on my contract. I’m going to continue giving it my all until the end of the season then we’ll see what happens,” Bebe is quoted as saying in the Daily Mirror.
And if the player keeps up his recent impressive run in front of goal—the attacker has netted nine goals in 22 league outings for Pacos so far this season—then who knows, maybe he will earn a recall to United this summer.
In fact, if the under-pressure United manager was watching his young charge’s latest sensational strike against Belenenses last Friday night—when Bebe somehow managed to beat former Port Vale and West Bromwich Albion youth-academy keeper Matt Jones with a 35-yard free kick that even his compatriot Cristiano Ronaldo would have been proud of—then his wish could soon come true.