Manchester United restarted its Premier League campaign with a stirring 3-0 victory over hapless Nottingham Forest. There were plenty of talking points before and after the match, most notably:
- Marcus Rashford’s continued run of great form and the re-emergence of his once-dangerous partnership with Anthony Martial. Rashford scored the first goal and assisted Martial on the second, giving hope that they can make up for United’s lack of an established, proven center forward.
- Raphael Varane bravely and selflessly volunteering to play after illness sidelined the club’s only two available senior center halves, Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire. Despite being excused from the match due to his country’s run to the World Cup Final, Varane felt his team needed him and stepped up.
- Luke Shaw volunteering to play center back to help ease said defensive selection crisis. Like Varane, Shaw played well and gave his manager something to think about moving forward.
- Casemiro’s ongoing brilliance. The Tank dominated in his usual role after filling in at center half against Burnley in the League Cup the previous week. He also showed off his playmaking skills, turning two defensive stands into quick counter-attacks that resulted in goals. He even got a slick assist on Fred’s goal late in the match that sealed the three points.
- Jesse Lingard’s first match at Old Trafford since leaving in the summer for Nottingham Forest. Say what you will about JLingz and the way he left, but Lingardinho scored some big goals for his boyhood club and always gave his all on the pitch. After leaving early in the second half with an injury, Lingard finally got the warm send-off he had been denied the previous spring, as Old Trafford gave him a nice ovation thanking him for everything he had done.
But the one that got the most attention was the sudden addition of a forward named “Betinho” to the club’s active roster. Was it a purported clerical error, as the club later claimed? Or did someone jump the gun before a transfer became official?
And who was this mystery man, anyway? Was it the Portuguese forward currently playing for S.C. Espinho who made one appearance with Brentford in 2014? Was it a heretofore unknown nickname for Atletico Madrid’s misfit playmaker Joao Felix? Was it a new, tongue-in-cheek identity for in-form Brentford striker Ivan Toney, who could face a long ban for allegations relating to betting on Premier League matches?
Or was it this man?
Santiago Jose Benedito (born 22 June 1993), known as Betinho, is a Portuguese association football player who plays for Manchester United.
Betinho was born in Lisbon, Portugal. As a child, he joined the world renowned Benfica youth team and spent two years playing at the academy level. In 2004, his family relocated to England, where he immediately caught the eye of scouts from Harchester United.
Upon turning 11, Betinho joined Harchester’s famed youth team and immediately worked his way up the ranks. As a result of several tragic and bizarre incidents, including a plane crash, a fire at the club’s training grounds, and a hostage situation that killed or incapacitated most of his teammates, Betinho was quickly promoted to the senior team at the ripe age of 18. During his tenure at Harchester, he scored several important goals, including the winning goal at Wembley Stadium to clinch the League Cup in 2013 and a hat trick against Chelsea on the last day of the 2013-14 season that became known as the Betinho Hat Trick due to the fact that he scored all three goals with his face.
Betinho went on loan to Earls Park F.C. during the 2014-15 season after Harchester United went into administration thanks to years of financial mismanagement, as well as a ruinous lawsuit where the club was forced to pay a massive judgment after picking a fan out of the stands to play goal only for that person to get paralyzed in a freak collision with an opposing player. The move was made permanent the following offseason for £17 million, with Betinho signing a five-year, £100,000 per-week contract. Betinho struggled to find his footing at Earls Park, often spending more time getting caught up in off-the-field transgressions, partying, having various love affairs and trying to avoid a murderous dog.
After the 2020-2021 season, Betinho moved to AFC Richmond on a free transfer, where he produced his finest run of form under coaching neophyte Ted Lasso. Believing in himself and his team for the first time in years, Betinho produced back-to-back excellent seasons for Richmond. On the last day of the 2020-21 season, with Richmond facing relegation, Betinho came up with a trick play based on the famed “Statute of Liberty” play in American football. Unfortunately, the resulting goal from the trick play (dubbed “The Tower of London” by commentators) was wrongly ruled offsides, allowing Manchester City to win the match and relegate Richmond to the Championship. Betinho played well the following season, helping AFC Richmond gain immediate promotion back to the Premier League. After being linked to West Ham United, which had just hired Richmond assistant Nathan “The Wonderkid” Shelley, Betinho decided to stay at Richmond, producing a strong first half to the 2022-23 season before joining Manchester United in a shock £55 million deal.
So with that kind of background and experience, he should be able to handle the soap opera known as Manchester United. Who needs Cody Gakpo?