What happened to the youngster dubbed 'the new Totti' - who signed for Man Utd in 2008

AmaZulu FC v MUFC - Pre-season Friendly

There is never any way of predicting whether youngsters can ever fulfil their potential, but that does not stop the biggest clubs taking a gamble on some of the brightest young talents in world football.

Manchester United are just one club who decide to take such a gamble, and that was the case in 2008 when they decided to raid Italian club, Roma, for a 16-year-old in their ranks.

Davide Petrucci had been making waves in the Roma youth teams and was rated as one of their highest prospects at the time.

The Italian was likened to Roma legend Francesco Totti for his playing style, and many at the Italian club thought that he would be his natural successor.

However, the Italian club could do nothing as Sir Alex Ferguson and Man United persuaded him to move to Old Trafford, even giving his father a job as a groundsman as an act of persuasion. The transfer left many at Roma furious.

Il Romanista, a newspaper dedicated to Roma, said of the transfer: "It is a nightmare. Manchester United have dealt us another low blow, stealing Petrucci from under our noses, probably the best product of our youth system.

"In three to four years, he will be worth 100 times as much."


So Petrucci came to Manchester with a lofty reputation, and he spent the first few years in the under 18's and the reserves.

He finally got his chance to play first team football in 2013 on Peterborough, but could not make the most of the opportunity as he made just four appearances as the club were relegated from the Championship.

The Italian was then handed spells on loan at Belgian side Antwerp and Championship outfit Charlton Athletic the following season, but failed to impress at either.

Manchester United Training and Press Conference - Durban

However, despite his underwhelming performances on loan, Petrucci was handed given hope of a United future by new manager Louis Van Gaal, who handed the Italian a space in his 25 man squad for the 2014/2015 season.

But, at 22-years-old, it seemed the once youth prodigy had had enough of trying to force his way into the United side and made the decision to terminate his own contract in September 2014.


Unfortunately for Petrucci, it seems his reluctance to fight for a first team berth at United backfired on him.

After leaving United he joined Romanian side CRF Cluj, before making the move to Turkish side Rizespor in 2016.

Unfortunately for Petrucci, he suffered relegation with his new side in his first season at the club, and at 26-years-old, he now finds himself plying his trade in the second division in Turkey.

It could have been so different.

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