Manchester United defender Diogo Dalot has explained why he bought a minibus for Portuguese side Escola de Futebol O Fintas, with whom he spent many years as a child.
The 19-year-old attended the football school in Braga before moving to Porto, and Dalot, who has now established himself as a first-team regular under caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, used his first wage from United to surprise staff at the school with the gift of a minibus.
Speaking in an interview for United's official website ahead of Wednesday's clash with Crystal Palace, Dalot explained his reasoning for the purchase. He said: “I wanted to give them something because they didn’t get anything for my transfer to here and I’m aware of their difficulties.
"I needed to help - it’s my job. I didn’t do it for the press. I did it because I wanted to and they’ve helped me get here. I think we [as footballers] can all help in some way. I don’t think it’s just all about the money, but I tried to help in this way and I think it was good for them.
“I remember the days when my dad had to drive my friends and I [to matches], because they didn’t have a van for the players. I will try and help more if I can. I gave them a shirt too and they thought it was just the shirt, so they were very surprised [about the minibus].
“I Facetimed them when I was travelling to a United game, so it was a good moment to see.”
Escola de Futebol O Fintas work closely with the likes of Benfica, Braga and Porto, and Dalot was picked up by the latter in 2008. He spent ten years as part of the Porto setup, making his debut in 2017 before going on to make a further seven appearances for the club.
Despite making just eight appearances, he impressed enough to earn a £19m move to United in 2018. Various injuries meant Dalot could not make his Premier League debut until December, but he has since gone on to become a regular feature of Solskjaer's lineup.