Written by Staff Writer: CNN
Three years ago 20-year-old Pereira took to the pitch for his boyhood club, Manchester United and after two appearances, six goals and 12 assists in 32 appearances the midfielder was being touted as one of the top prospects the game had to offer.
But a junior career-ending cruciate ligament injury — the same one that befell former United star Paul Scholes — effectively ended his promising career in 2012, and with it, his dreams of playing in the Premier League.
Despite the frustrations of being forced to wait a year after his recovery before joining Italian football side Sampdoria in 2015, the returning Pereira continues to enjoy success.
We caught up with the midfielder to find out what his life has been like since leaving the top flight, and what he can look forward to on the pitch.
Describe your style as a player
The style is pure football. It’s the same way I play as a player. I do not try to think about how people like me but how they like me as a player.
People are always talking about my look but I don’t need to give my style. I think it’s great that people can see through the game. I have a style and I think it’s cool. I feel it’s always important to keep it simple.
Why did you decide to play for Portugal and not your country, Portugal?
I had two offers but I didn’t like either one. The first was something in England but the money wasn’t right. My dream is to play in the Premier League. I did not want to come back to Portugal with not many offers and it wasn’t going to be right. I decided to come to the Premier League.
Why did you change your name?
I think it was a joke to choose Pereira. I never wanted to be known as Pereira. My friends use to call me ‘Pereira Luisa’ because of my hair, the red waves on top of my head.
It means honestly a lot to change it. I felt that I needed to find something that I loved, that meant something. I really loved it.
Describe your age in football terms and in life.
I am 20 years old. In football terms I am only a teenager, but in life I am already very experienced. I understand how to put a game together. I am a good player. I have great potential.
What are you most excited about?
To play for Portugal and for my country. These two prizes I’ve wanted since I was four years old. I want to win the title for both of them.