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Where Are They Now? Federico Macheda – the striker that thought he had made it but went off the boil

Manchester United signed 16-year-old Federico Macheda back in 2007 with the club then being allowed to sign players of that age and his family relocated to the Manchester area. The player played for the U18s side at the time, making his first team debut during the 2008/09 season, scoring twice in five appearances.

The player left United in the summer of 2014 for Cardiff City, then managed by current United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. During his time at United, Macheda was loaned to Sampdoria, Queen’s Park Rangers, VfB Stuttgart, Doncaster Rovers and Birmingham City. He played 36 times for United, scoring five goals and six assists, having a cult following.

After leaving United, the player never quite made it in the game, seemingly struggling, despite an early start at the Old Trafford club, which had him quickly labelled as the next best thing. However, now playing for Greek side Panathinaikos, Macheda seems to heave rediscovered his form and it getting noticed once again.

Back in the 2008/09 season at United, Macheda came off the bench and scored a world against Aston Villa, a 3-2 scoreline with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring a brace, winning the game for his club. The against Sunderland, he came off the bench and found the back of the net again, all at the age of 17. It must have been great for him at the time, not so much now.

It was suggested that the player had a glittering career ahead of him at United, however, that never really happened. There was a weight of expectation at the club, especially after Ronaldo left the club in the summer of 2009 for Real Madrid, which seems to be a time where lots of things went wrong for the Old Trafford club.

At Cardiff, where he played under Solskjaer for a period of time, Macheda played 33 times, scoring eight goals and one assist. However, it never really worked for him there either and he spent time on loan at Nottingham Forest, playing just three times. His contract at Cardiff was cancelled and he signed for Novara in Serie B, playing 50 times, scoring 11 goals and two assists.

His contract at Novara expired at the end of the 2017/18 season, and the player then moved to Greece, playing for Panathinaikos, where he is now, signing a three-year contract, which will expire in the summer of 2021. Macheda has played a total of 56 times for the club, scoring 25 goals and seven assists, a turn up in form for the player.

This season alone, before the coronavirus pandemic suspended world football, Macheda made a total of 28 appearances for his club, playing in the Greek Super League 1, the Kypello Elladas and the Super League play-off, scoring 14 goals and three assists. His scintillating form in the country has left to interest from other clubs, possible facilitating another move.

There could well be interest in the Italian striker from Spain, which could be a good league for him to prove himself in. I am happy that he seems to have, at last, found his feet in the game. Many will have had high hopes for him when he scored that goal against Aston Villa, but it just was not to be for him at United. I wish him all the best for his future career.

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