Where Are They Now? Federico Macheda – that goal against Villa propelled him but not for long!

His career has not been brilliant but he found his level playing the game he loves!

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, Queens 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, originally signing a three-year contract. Macheda has played a total of 91 times for the club, scoring 36 goals and nine assists, a turn up in form for the player.

During the 2019/20, Macheda made a total of 37 appearances for his club, playing in the Greek Super League 1, the Kypello Elladas and the Super League play-off, scoring 15 goals and four assists, scoring ten goals and one assist in 33 appearances during the 2020/21 season.

His scintillating form in the country has led to interest from other clubs, possibly facilitating a transfer but he remained at Panathinaikos during the 2021/22 season making 18 appearances, scoring four goal and one assist.

Macheda became the 13th foreign player to make more than 100 appearances for Panathinaikos with just 202 players achieving that. He left Greece in the summer of 2022 signing for Turkish Super Lig side Ankaragücü. In the 2022/23 season, Macheda made 30 appearances, scoring three goals and three assists. He was loaned out to APOEL FC in Cyprus though.

Ahead of the 2023/24 season, Macheda returned to Ankaragücü ready for the new season. So far, with more than half of the season played, the Italian striker has made just 21 appearances, scoring four goals and one assist.

At 32 he is in the twilight of his career and will soon be starting to look into retirement and what he wants to do when he hangs up his boots.

Macheda was a promising young player when he came through the academy at United and did more than enough to get himself noticed at the club. However, he was not at the required skill level to break though at the club and really succeed – which was a massive shame.

The Italian will be thankful that Sir Alex Ferguson looked towards him as a future striker for the club, but it was not going to work out for him. There were better players at the club that he would have needed to outshine, which was never going to happen.

At club level, Macheda has made 380 appearances for 12 different clubs. He has scored 93 goals with a further 25 assists which has not been clinical enough for him to be regarded as a top striker.

Written by Paul

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I support Manchester United, the greatest English football team to have ever existed. Bruno Fernandes is the latest in a long line of players with great ability to play for the club. I idolised Bryan Robson, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, and Eric Cantona growing up.