I lived in a homeless shelter for EIGHT YEARS before sealing life-changing transfer to Man Utd


ONE STAR went from living in a homeless shelter for EIGHT years to lining-up for Manchester United.

After being spotted at the Homeless World Cup, Sir Alex Ferguson stumped up £7.4million to sign Tiago Manuel Dias Correia, nicknamed Bebe, back in 2010.


A star went from living in a homeless shelter to signing for Man UtdCredit: AP:Associated Press
Alex Ferguson poses with his 2010 summer signings Chris Smalling, right, Javier Hernandez and Bebe


Alex Ferguson poses with his 2010 summer signings Chris Smalling, right, Javier Hernandez and BebeCredit: AP:Associated Press

The Portuguese attacker, now 33, was recommended to him by No2 Carlos Queiroz.

And Sir Alex activated the player’s release clause at Vitoria Guimaraes despite having NEVER seen him play.

That move should have been the ultimate rags to riches fairytale but it ended in Bebe being regularly labelled one of the biggest failures in the Premier League’s history.

He left in 2014 having made just seven senior appearances in four years and when he found out he was being sold to Benfica he said it was the “best moment of my life”.

But despite his failure to make it on the big stage at Old Trafford, the fact he even got to play for the Red Devils given his early upbringing is a remarkable feat.

Bebe, now 33, spent almost a decade in a homeless shelter after being abandoned by his parents.

Speaking previously to the Daily Star, he explained how he was taught to read and write and reluctantly learned how to play football: “I had eight years in an orphanage. There, I did not like football. But my friends always wanted to play and I had no choice but to join in.”

He soon took to the game like a duck to water on the pitch at Lisbon’s Caso do Gaiato and soon Bebe’s first big break came when he was convinced to represent Portugal at the Homeless World Cup.


He said: “They asked me to go to the Homeless World Cup, and I accepted.

“I went there as a joke, but scored 40 goals in six matches.”

Those performances soon had clubs sniffing an eyeing a bargain – but Bebe says he wanted to stay HOMELESS.

He explained: “I didn’t want to sign for a team because I did not want to have to leave the orphanage.

“It was difficult to leave. But I carried on going back there to sleep whenever I could.”

Bebe admits he thought it was a joke when he learned of United’s interest just weeks after he had left third tier Estrela de Amadora for top-flight Vitoria Guimaraes.

Bebe did manage to score in back to back games against Wolves and Bursaspor in the Champions League but it soon became apparent he did not have what it takes to cut the mustard alongside his star-studded team-mates.

After starting just three games for the club and then loans at Besiktas, Rio Ave and Pacos de Ferreira, he left for Benfica in 2014 for £2.4m.

Things failed to work out for him back in his homeland either as he made just six appearances before being shipped out on loan to La Liga sides Cordoba – that produced no goals in 18 games – and Rayo Vallecano – where he got three in 34 league games.

Then, in 2016, Eibar offered him a permanent Spanish home and he lasted 18 months there and grabbed three goals and four assists in 29 La Liga outings.

He returned in January 2018 to Vallecano on loan in the Spanish second-tier and he helped them to secure a return to the top flight.

That earned him a permanent deal there and he is still turning out for the Madrid-based club in LaLiga these days despite spending the second half of last term on loan at Real Zaragoza.

And he can even call himself a full international now.

He was called-up for African nation Cape Verde in March 2022, who he qualifies for through his ancestry, and celebrated his debut with a goal in a 2-0 win over Guadeloupe.

He has gone on to score another three times for his adopted nation in his 12 caps.

Bebe failed to make the breakthrough at United but resurrected his career in Spain


Bebe failed to make the breakthrough at United but resurrected his career in SpainCredit: Getty
The now 33-year-old is playing for Rayo Vallecano in LaLiga


The now 33-year-old is playing for Rayo Vallecano in LaLigaCredit: Reuters

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