Over the obstacles to the stars. This well-known saying fits a 25-year-old Portuguese footballer named Beto. At 18, he was turning fried chicken in a fast food restaurant, but now he’s a star for Udinese in Serie A.
Beto always believed he would become a professional footballer. It wasn’t like he got there by accident. But his path was a little more thorny than other youngsters.
While his peers were starting to peek into adult football at 18, Beto was in that run for the amateur Uniao Tires in Portugal’s fifth league. To make a living, he worked in a KFC fast food restaurant.
At the same time, he never gave up his dream of becoming a professional footballer. “I had a good mentality. I said to myself, ‘I’m strong, tall, fast.’ You can’t train that kind of thing, ” Beto tells his story to Goal.
“With a lot of confidence, I started to develop. In my opinion, if you don’t believe in yourself, no one will believe in you. I even told my teammates that I was going to become a professional. We made a bet that I would make it in five years and I made it in four years! ” says Beto.
But Beto was not that far away from top-level football when he was young, playing for Benfica Lisbon at the age of 11. After just one year, however, he was released from the academy because he wasn’t good enough. Many kids would have been discouraged, but Beto returned to Tires and kept working for his dream.
His breakthrough into professional football
From Tires in the fifth league, Beto moved to Olimpico Montijo in 2018, which played in the third league. In his first season, he netted 21 goals and earned a move up two more levels. He was plucked from the Portuguese first league by Portimonense.
But even here, Beto didn’t have it easy from the start. In the 2019/20 edition, he was trusted in 11 games, but he didn’t make his mark in the statistics. He did, however, draw attention to himself in the U23 team, where he netted 13 goals in nine games.
So the next season, Beto finally broke through. He scored 11 goals in 30 games, added 2 assists and attracted the interest of the Portuguese big three. Benfica, Sporting and Porto were all interested in the lanky striker.
However, Beto opted for a loan spell at Udinese, who secured a €7 million option. And now it’s safe to say it was a great buy.
Last season Beto scored 11 goals, now he’s aiming for even better numbers. After 27 games, he has 9 goals and 2 assists.
The man from KFC next to Ronaldo?
“Scoring goals for Udinese is a godsend. They did everything to bring me here and everyone here has been fantastic to me. I want to repay them, I’m really enjoying it here,” says a happy Beto.
He didn’t need to be in Udinese anymore, because in the winter transfer window Everton were knocking on his door. “It’s true, I was close to a transfer to Everton in the winter. The two clubs were in talks, but in the end they did not reach an agreement,” says the 25-year-old striker.
And what are Beto’s next targets? “I would like to play in the Champions League. And the national team… I know I’m being watched, I’ve already been in the wider squad for the World Cup in Qatar. But I have to concentrate on Udinese, if I play well, maybe they will call me up,” the Portuguese dreams.
Who knows, maybe the guy who worked at KFC a few years ago will be in the attack alongside Cristiano Ronaldo at EURO 2024. But nothing is impossible!” assures the footballer with a unique football story.
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