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Oct 6, 2013

Fabio's journey boosts Reds

As a teenager he was brought to Chelsea by Jose Mourinho, six years later he was considering giving the game away. Fabio Ferreira's career path may be unorthodox, but it has led him to a state of peace in his new home.

Rd 1: Perth Glory

The Portugal-born winger shone with A-League outfit Adelaide United last season and is set to play a key role under new boss, and former Barcelona youth coach, Josep Gombau, this campaign.

After catching the eye of Mourinho's scouts at an early age, Ferreira struggled to cement a place in the first-team. Though a brief loan spell at Oldham provided him first-team football, he headed back to his homeland to re-start his career.

It was there -- playing for second-tier clubs Esmoriz and Sertanense -- his desire to play was brought into question, and he subsequently found himself on a defining journey to the other side of the world.

"I was 16," Ferreira recalled to ESPN. "I was playing for Sporting Lisbon when I went to a tournament with Portugal Under-16s to France. I did really well in that tournament and from there the conversations [with Chelsea] started to happen.

"There were some other people from Chelsea who were out watching the players, but obviously Mourinho had a word and he said he would like to have me at Chelsea.

"I finished my four years there and at that moment I had a manager that would do anything for me and, for that reason, I ended up going back to Portugal with a second division team.

"It's very hard when you are near the top and you go so low down as I went, but I always tried to do my best and I always believed in me. Those two years I had in Portugal, I tried to do my best to get up [to the top division] but unfortunately I didn't have -- and still don't have -- an agent and in these times it's important to have a good one.

"To be fair, I wasn't really happy. I was happy to be closer my family, but I wasn't happy about football.

"Actually, I was just about to give up. Inside of me I knew I wanted to play football at a high level again, but at that moment I was just a bit upset and was just about to give up, so when I came to Australia I wasn't coming with the mentality to find a club. Obviously inside of me, I wanted to, but it wasn't my first priority.

"I'm here now and I'm really happy. Now I've got my mentality back and I want to do the best I can, of course."

Having established himself at the Reds with a number of dynamic performances last season, Ferreira is enjoying life in Adelaide -- particularly as Gombau has strengthened the squad with the likes of Socceroo Michael Zullo and Spanish striker Sergio Cirio.

"Of course in Australia it's getting bigger, and with bigger players coming in it will even help more the culture of football here. "My goal is to play and to show what I can do, last year I showed a bit what I can do, but I know I can do better than what I've done already. Obviously with the team goal it's to do our best and hopefully win something.

"This year we've got a good squad and I think we can have a good season, so hopefully we'll do what we've been doing in training and working on. Hopefully it will pay off later in the season."

Adelaide United at a glance:
Last season finish: 4th
Ins: Michael Zullo (loan), Tarek Elrich, Isaias Sanchez, Sergio Cirio, Jordan Elsey, Awer Mabil.
Outs: Dario Vidosic, Iain Fyfe, Iain Ramsay, Tomi Juric, Fabian Barbiero, Evan Kostopoulos.
Prediction: Despite recruiting a strong squad, one suspects it will take new boss Josep Gombau a little time to stamp his style on Adelaide. The Reds will be tough to beat, but it may be too much to ask of them to play like Gombau's former club Barcelona immediately.

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