Federico Macheda came from nowhere, an almost unknown youth player, to score one of our most important goals in the past few years after coming off the bench against Aston Villa in 2009. In his next game, against Sunderland, he scored less than a minute after coming on the pitch.
It seemed as though Macheda had a bright future ahead of him but after lack of playing time for United and disappointing loan spells at Sampdoria and QPR, his career hasn’t gone in the direction everyone was hoping.
Macheda is currently on loan at Stuttgart, who are 12th in the league, and they have an option to buy him at the end of the season.
“I am still happy about scoring those goals,” he said. “I played for Manchester United. My dream came true. I was only 17 when I made my debut, though, and when I scored those goals people expected me to become the new Wayne Rooney; the next big thing. How could I when I wasn’t even playing every game? So that bit was not easy to cope with. When I look back, though, I am still happy about it. It was a fairy-tale. After Manchester it has been a struggle. I have had injuries and loan spells and they haven’t really worked. But I am adapting now here at Stuttgart. That takes time. The important thing now is to find my place; get some playing time and develop as a player. Manchester United was more difficult than any club in the world because of the talent of the players there and because of the attention and the pressure. It wouldn’t make sense to go back and do what I have done for the last two years. Maybe in the future I could go back, but not now.”
Made in Manchester is available for just £5. It includes 30 articles from the country's best football writers about graduates from the Manchester United academy. Everyone who buys a copy enters a competition to win the new home shirt. All profit goes to Trafford Macmillan so please support this fantastic cause.