“If you think I’m good, just wait until you see Fabio Paim.”
They were Cristiano Ronaldo’s words upon his arrival at Manchester United in 2003.
The future five-time Ballon d’Or winner had just signed for United from Sporting but believed there was an even bigger talent at the Portuguese club.
But while Ronaldo went on to become one of the greatest players the sport has ever seen, things haven’t quite gone to plan for Paim.
He was being scouted by the likes of Barcelona, Manchester United and Real Madrid at the age of 14 and, at the age of 19, joined Chelsea on-loan under Luiz Filipe Scolari.
But he failed to break into the first-team at Stamford Bridge, making a handful of reserve appearances during his four months in west London.
And it was the start of a downward spiral for Paim.
He had unsuccessful loan spells at Rio Ave and Real Massama before he was released from Sporting in 2010.
He signed for Portuguese third division side S.C.U Torreense, making three appearances before leaving.
In the following eight years, he played in seven counties – China, Angola, Malta, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Qatar and Brazil.
But Paim just couldn’t justify Ronaldo’s comments from 2003.
Sixteen years on, the former wonderkid has now been arrested on suspicion of ‘drugs trafficking’, according to Portuguese paper Correio da Manha.
Police reportedly found 12 grams of cocaine, weighing scales, 900 euros and a BMW whilst searching the house searches following his arrest.
The police confirmed a man aged 31 and a woman aged 43 had been arrested on suspicion of drugs trafficking – and a number of Portuguese newspapers identified the man as Fabio Paim, who is said to have been under investigation for months.
Two years ago, Paim gave an interview blaming his fall from grace on the lack of support he received.
“I often trained with the first team but I didn’t play,” he said.
“I wanted to play. I felt I could do more. Jorge Mendes took me to Chelsea. I was getting good money and he had a player at the club and that was good for everyone.
“If it had been today I would have had more patience. But at the time, the more free time I had, the more stupid things I did.”