my older brother played football. I watched his matches and became interested in football. I started playing for my first proper team when I was 12 or 13. I started playing for the Estrela da Amadora [Portuguese Third Division side] junior team, and I was the best goalscorer and player, so the manager put me in the first team.
From Amadora you joined Vitoria de Guimaraes, and soon after that United came knocking...
Yes, I was playing for Guimaraes in pre-season, and in all the matches I was playing well and scoring goals. Suddenly Jorge Mendes [Bebe’s agent] told me about the deal. I was very happy at the time, I didn’t expect it. It was like a dream to me. Everybody dreams to come to Manchester United.
So you already knew something about the club?
[Smiles] Of course.
And quick was the process of arriving here?
Everything developed very quickly. I didn’t expect it – I’m sure no-one was expecting it. It was like a shock. I met Sir Alex in England the day after I signed for the club. He told me I had to learn English quickly and to go as fast as I could to the hairdresser and get my hair cut! It was like a joke – but I think he maybe meant it too.
What were your first impressions of Manchester United?
When I went to Old Trafford for the first time, I imagined myself playing on the pitch. I remember my first day of training. I could not believe it – I was sat inside the dressing room and looked around and saw so many famous players. I used to watch them on TV and now I was there with them. It was nerve-wracking… I think on my first day I wasn’t even able to train properly! I always thought I would reach a big club, but I never thought it would happen as quickly as this. But now that I am