Manchester United fans who follow Joel and Andreas Pereira on social media probably have a pretty good a idea of the friendship they have.
Having played together at United’s academy for years, the youngsters are now looking for a place in the first team squad after being sent out on loan at the start of the season.
But despite leaving Andreas at Granada, manager José Mourinho called Joel back from Belenenses this month, and gave him a first team debut on Sunday.
The game was attended by Andreas’ father, Marcos Pereira, who spoke to Portuguese newspaper Record about the boys’ friendship.
“My son lived with Joel in one of United’s houses. But when I came to Manchester, Andreas moved in, and Joel asked to live with us,” said Marcos Pereira.
“He lived in our house for almost three years. If he’s adopted? No (laughs), the same surname is a coincidence. By the way, we have a great friendship with his parents, Mr. Francisco and Mrs. Maria.
“I only have good things to say about Joel: he’s a fantastic boy, polite and very lovely. He’s like a third child to me, as I also have a daughter besides Andreas. They’re like brothers.”
“I was at the game and, for us, who know Joel, it wasn’t a surprise. Despite being only 20, he’s very mature. He faced the opportunity with great responsibility. I was very happy and he’ll still play for Manchester United for many years. He thanked Mourinho for the trust and then we all went to have dinner.”
Joel’s father also spoke to Record: “It was with much emotion here at home that we saw him come on and we knew the day would come because he’s been working greatly for that.
“It was a moment of joy and, even having a huge trust in him, my son can’t stop surprising me… (Francisco was watching a Manchester United U23 game during the interview) …and he saved! My son saved it!”
“They worked for him to grow and play regularly in a top flight club. He works well and can have more opportunities.”
Record also got quotes from Andreas Pereira, was also incredibly pleased with his friend’s debut: “Joel is a true brother for me. We helped each other at United and we created a very strong friendship.
“It’s a great joy to see him debut for the first team and I’m pretty sure I’ll be back to play alongside him for Manchester United. I was very happy and I hope someday I can celebrate wins by his side.”