The 5th of April 2021 marks 12 years since striker Federico Macheda burst onto the scene with Manchester United.
The Italian striker, then making his debut for the Red Devils at the age of just 17 years of age, had an extremely memorable cameo by scoring a dramatic last-minute winner in a 3-2 victory against Aston Villa.
After scoring another winning goal in the next match against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, Macheda looked set to have a wonderful career for Manchester United. However, over a decade later and his star continues to fade.
Following his explosive start to life at Old Trafford, the Italian only made another 34 appearances and 15 starts for the club under Sir Alex Ferguson, scoring just a further three goals, bringing his total in Manchester to just five.
Back in 2009, Macheda was touted for big things by Fergie. He said to MUTV (via the Daily Mail): “We have big hopes for Macheda. He is one of the reasons we didn’t go into the [transfer] market. He is strong, athletic and a good finisher.”
And the Red Devils legend also once dubbed him “something special” too.
He was also shifted out on five separate loan deals to Sampdoria, Queens Park Rangers, Birmingham City, VfB Stuttgart and Doncaster Rovers before being released in 2014 and joining Cardiff City of the Championship on a free transfer.
From his peak transfer valuation of £3.15m in 2011, the now 29-year-old is rated at just £1.35m whilst plying his trade in the wilderness of Greek Super League with Panathinaikos.
A huge reason for that is his poor goal record. In the near seven years since he departed Old Trafford, Macheda has netted just 54 career goals – the majority of those coming with his current employers.
For context, that is just over seven goals per season.
With two years remaining on his contract in Greece, Macheda’s star has fallen some way since his exhilarating start to life at Manchester United.
The 5th of April will continue to be a memorable day for the Italian striker even 12 years later but it will also be tinged with a sense of what could have been having seen his Old Trafford career fail.