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Manchester United sign former homeless footballer

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has gambled on the talent of a young Portuguese star.
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has gambled on the talent of a young Portuguese star.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Manchester United sign 20-year-old striker Bebe from Portugal club Vitoria Guimaraes
  • Bebe played his early football for an organization in Portugal which helped the homeless
  • He was reportedly recommended to United by their former assistant manager Carlos Quieroz

(CNN) -- English giants Manchester United have splashed out a reported $10 million on an unknown 20-year-old striker whose only previous professional experience is playing in the third-flight of Portuguese football.

Tiago Manuel Dias Correia, known as "Bebe", has signed from Vitoria de Giumaraes and will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani in making a big impression at Old Trafford.

Bebe has a compelling story, having been raised in a youth shelter in his home town of Cacem on the outskirts of Lisbon.

He played his early football for CAIS, an organization responsible for Portugal's National Homeless Team, and was soon spotted by his first professional club Estrela Amadora.

Bebe's displays for them attracted the attention of scouts from more prominent clubs and he was snapped up by Portuguese first division Vitoria de Giumaraes just five weeks ago.

I am very happy. Football can change lives, very much
--Bebe
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He has yet to play a game in the top flight of his national league, but his performances in warm-up matches were enough for United to step in, leaving Giumaraes with a quick profit.

Reports say that Carlos Queiroz, Alex Ferguson's former assistant, tipped off the Manchester United manager about Bebe's talents after he scored four goals in seven friendly appearances and earned rave reviews.

Gonçalo Sequeira dos Santos of CAIS and the manager of Portugal's National Homeless World Cup Team told CNN that he had spoken to Bebe Thursday to congratulate him on his move.

Bebe told him: "I am very happy. Football can change lives, very much."

Dos Santos added: "Bebe is responsible, with one big heart and an all-round awesome boy. We are truly happy for this opportunity he has to make his dream come true and improving his life."

He is the third signing of the summer for United, who lost their English Premier League crown to arch-rivals Chelsea last season.

Defender Chris Smalling from Fulham and Mexico striker Javier Hernandez from Chivas de Guadalajara are the other signings.

Bebe may struggle to gain a regular starting slot as he competes with the likes of Hernandez, Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov, Michael Owen and Federico Macheda.

In other transfer news Thursday, Italian international midfielder Mauro Camoranesi's transfer from Juventus to Premier League Birmingham City is in doubt because of the English tax regime, his agent claimed.

"Nothing has been concluded," Sergio Fortunato told Calciomercato.it, a website specializing in transfer dealings.