Bruno Fernandes has admitted he was once so disillusioned with football that he wanted to quit the game entirely.
The Portuguese midfielder began his career in Italy after moving there aged 17.
It was there, whilst playing for Udinese, that he got extremely homesick and lonely, which forced him to reconsider his career path.
But Fernandes credits his "obsessive analysis" and "extreme" personality for helping him work through the bad patch to realise his dream.
"I needed that mentality to survive," he told the Players' Tribune. "It’s not enough just to be talented, or to work hard, or to be mentally strong. You have to combine absolutely everything. You have to live football, completely."
Discussing his time in Serie A, he said: "I was all on my own at 17 in a new country. I didn’t speak the language, and I didn’t know anyone, and let me tell you, it was hard. It was unbelievably hard and lonely. There were times when I wanted to quit, absolutely."
Fernandes revealed it was his father who instilled a mentality in him to constantly strive for improvement, and accepted he would not have "survived" playing in Italy were it not for that attitude.
After a season-long loan at Sampdoria, Fernandes the returned to his homeland for Sporting Lisbon, where he thrived before United came calling.
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Fernandes had supported United as a boy, and was determined to follow in the footsteps of his international teammate Cristiano Ronaldo and play for the Red Devils.
And after finally learning he was destined for Old Trafford, the emotion was overwhelming.
"When I knew for sure that the deal was happening, the first thing I did was tell my wife and daughter the news, and I couldn’t help it … I just started crying," he added.
"Tears of joy. Tears of happiness. Tears of memories.
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"I thought of the time when my wife was still just my girlfriend, and I called her from Italy telling her I wanted to give up, and she said, 'No, no, no. This is your dream. No .'
"Next I called my brother, and I started crying again."
Fernandes was not alone, though, as he explained how each member of his family also broke down in tears as he realised his dream.
Since then he has been a revelation for United, and has already equalled a Ronaldo record, with plenty more likely to come.
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