Manchester United outcast Bebe is having a fine time on loan at Rio Ave in Portugal and at the weekend got man of the match against Sporting Lisbon. It's not his first such award since moving to Rio Ave and this was an important league game for the club who now stand fifth in the Portuguese league.
The A Bola newspaper say that Bebe is beginning to show why Manchester United invested so much in him, and that he is turning into a real star. They say he's adapted well and stands out in games and although the Portuguese league isn't the strongest in Europe, it's not to be laughed at. Manchester United are frequently linked with players there, as are other Premier League teams, and good performances should not be dismissed.
Abola say that after the game Bebe was beaming and told them "I'm feeling very good and so I hope to continue to do well with good reports, so I can realise the ambition of returning to Manchester."
He's quoted by Record as saying "I feel like I helped the team, but everyone was important. Here I feel important because I can play regularly. I hope to keep in shape, keep helping Rio Ave until the end of the season and return to Manchester United, which is my club."
Such a turnaround was unexpected by most fans, who had thought he'd simply return to Portugal and go off the radar, not to be heard of again until Manchester United said they'd released him from his contract. But, and Bebe deserves a lot of credit for this, he's gone there to fight and show he's not some novelty to be written off.
Making it at Manchester United is never easy and Bebe has had a harder experience than most but he's clearly determined to not give up on that dream. He's still only 22, he joined United in 2010, and has time on his side even if the task is difficult considering the attacking players ahead of him.
One of Bebe's problems was that his ever-so-slightly-dodgy story was a great one. Manchester United buying a Sunday League level player for a big fee, on the say-so of an agent with claims of financial irregularity, it was all a brilliant narrative.
Bebe actually being able to play football diluted that to an extent and therefore any glimpse of talent was quickly brushed aside but any wild cross was brought up repeatedly to back claims up. As a very young player from a difficult background it may have been fairer to give the kid a chance, but that wouldn't have made for such good copy, it's not quite as intriguing.
The Portuguese youngster is fighting to make a career for himself and that may never be in front of the Old Trafford crowd but he's certainly proving to be a real talent and perhaps he was a risk worth taking after-all.
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