It’s now been over ten years since Manchester United fans were caught by surprise when the club announced the signing of Bebé from Vitória Guimarães on an €8.8m deal.
With an inspiring and a little controversial story, the winger managed to come out of amateur football and join Sir Alex Ferguson’s side, for whom he made seven appearances.
Following a few loan spells, Bebé finally left Old Trafford permanently when sold to Benfica in 2014.
A lot has happened in his career since then, and his most recent drama was told in a two-page interview with Portuguese newspaper A Bola today.
Currently at Rayo Vallecano, the 30-year-old is living a very important season. Not because of stats, but mostly due to the recovery of a knee injury which left him out for 14 months.
“Cruciate ligaments injury is a very serious thing, in theory they say six months, but in practice, and even forcing a lot, it almost always takes longer because it requires a lot of physiotherapy,” Bebé told A Bola.
“I was stopped for 14 months, it seemed like an eternity, the doctors said they were going to do everything to help me, but time was passing by, I was making a recovery step and got blocked, the plan didn’t advance, they went around and around to see if it appeared a way out of the situation, but there was no way. I cried every day, it was crazy, I got into depression, I started to run out of strength to fight.”
Quizzed if he was ever afraid he would never play football again, Bebé says that’s something that always crossed his mind.
“I feared on many occasions, everything was much more complicated than I expected, I had to have an operation three times, I always went in and out of the hospital with the hope that a solution would be found in order to continue playing.”
“I went through very difficult times when the doctors did not know very well what to do to move forward in recovery. They operated once and I couldn’t bend my leg, they operated the second and I could not stand… only the third is that, finally, the solution came up, it was an ordeal that seemed to have no end.”
Bebé returned to playing in October and has five goals and two assists in 24 appearances for Rayo Vallecano since then, and is now focused on getting a new contract with the club.
“The most important thing is that I’ve already forgotten the injury, I’m playing well, I’m going through a good phase and I believe that I’m being important to the team. I want to play and show everything I’m capable of, at the age of 30 I still have a lot to give to football.”
“My contract ends on June 30th, now I could negotiate with other clubs, but I’m doing it with Rayo, they want me to continue and that is also my wish. We are striving for an understanding. My priority is Rayo, but if there’s no agreement, I’ll leave with my head held high, with a clear conscience for having done a good job for always giving everything on the pitch, and leaving the door open for whatever may arise in the future. Whatever happens, I will always have great memories of this club.”