PARIS, January 5 – Rewind two years and Angola striker Manucho was having the time of his life.
The 26-year-old burst onto the international scene at the 2008 African Nations Cup in Ghana, firing Angola into the quarter-finals with a three goal haul.
Snapped up by Manchester United he was loaned out by the Premier League giants to first Greek club Panathinaikos, then Hull City.
He made his debut for United in a League Cup win over Middlesbrough last September and his only Premier League appearance for the club was as a substitute against Stoke.
Manucho – full name Mateus Alberto Contreiras Goncalves – was unable to secure a place in Sir Alex Ferguson’s plans and in July he moved to Spanish side Real Valladolid.
Then followed a very public falling out with Angola’s new coach Manuel Jose when the forward failed to show on time for two November friendlies.
His punishment was being temporarily kicked out of Jose’s squad
"He thinks he is more important than the national team. I put him out because he arrived late to training with a stupid excuse," explained Portugual-born Jose.
Manucho issued an apology to "the ‘teacher’ and to my colleagues, in particular, and to the nation in general for all that has happened.
"I am very sad about this situation, that I am considered undisciplined by the Angolan people."
He will be out to redeem himself where it matters most, on the pitch, over the coming weeks.