Monday, February 21, 2011

The Enigma, Bebe

When Manchester United announced the signing of an unknown Portugese youngster last August, many a memory harked back to two past raids of Portugal, namely, the signings of Nani and Ronaldo. However, based on his lackluster performance against Wolves earlier in the season, as well as his woeful showing against Crawley Town on Saturday, Bebe seems to rest in an inferior class to his two, brilliant, countryman.

Bebe admirers will point to the unconvincing starts that both Nani and Cristiano Ronaldo made to their Old Trafford careers, but the truth is that mid way through their first seasons at the club they had already made an impact. Ronaldo's step over laden debut at home to Bolton put him in the minds of United supporters everywhere and, though considered a little over zealous with his foot work, Ronaldo was still appreciated as a very talented player.

When Nani arrived at United he made an impact arguably faster than Ronaldo, with screamers against Tottenham and Middelsborough early in the season proving invaluable for a United team who began the 07/08 Premier League season with a stutter. Though Nani faded some what towards the end of the season, he still contributed to United's finest moment of the season, scoring a penalty in the shoot-out win over Chelsea which gave Sir Alex Ferguson his second Champions League title.

Though it is surely to early to write off Bebe's chances of success at United one does begin to wonder about the thoughts going through Ferguson's head as Bebe smacked another cross into row Z on Saturday. In the past Ferguson has been patient with young, developing talent, but one struggles to see any way that Bebe will break into the first team with Nani, Obertan, Park and the returning Antonio Valencia, well ahead of him in the pecking order.

It would be a brilliant rags to riches tale if Bebe was to make it at Manchester United, but Cinderella stories like that rarely play out in real life, and the wily Scotsman in charge of Bebe's future could hardly be accused of sentimentality in his dealings with under performing players.

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