What happened to Kleberson’s career after leaving Manchester United in 2005

Manchester United v Crystal Palace

The summer of 2003 saw huge changes at Manchester United.

Out went three massive names in the form of David Beckham, Juan Sebastian Veron and Fabian Barthez. And in came Cristiano Ronaldo, Eric Djemba-Djemba, David Bellion, Tim Howard and Brazilian World Cup winner Kleberson.

"We're delighted Kleberson is joining us because we've been chasing him for quite a few months,” Sir Alex Ferguson was quoted as saying by the Guardian following the South American’s £5.93 million arrival from Atletico Paranaense. "He played in the World Cup final for Brazil, and his then coach Phil Scolari said he was first choice every time in the team.

"The new Brazilian coach Parreira says the same. He is a young, athletic midfield player who can play in a number of positions.

"One of the reasons we sold Seba Veron was because we knew we were getting Kleberson - that shows how highly we regard his talent."

United fans couldn't tell you anything Kleberson did

Although Veron was largely disappointing for United - mainly because he’d cost £28.1 million, a British transfer record at the time - Fergie’s decision to offload the gifted Argentine midfielder for Kleberson failed to pay off.

Kleberson was even less effective than Veron and only managed to make 30 appearances for the Red Devils over the next two seasons, scoring two goals.

Cameron of Wolves tackles Kleberson of Man Utd

At least Veron provided United fans with some memorable moments, especially in the Champions League. The same supporters couldn’t tell you anything noteworthy about Kleberson’s two-year spell.

Kleberson's sad fall from grace after leaving United

But what happened to the Brazil international following his departure from Old Trafford in the summer of 2005?

Sadly, it turns out that he endured a rather spectacular fall from grace.

He went on to sign for Besiktas but left the club in 2007 after claiming the Turkish giants had failed to pay his wages on time.

Brazilian midfielder Jose Kleberson Pere

Kleberson then returned to his home country and signed for Flamengo as a free agent and briefly worked his way back into the Brazilian national team before an untimely injury left him sidelined for several months.

He was never the same player afterwards and failed to impress on a loan spell with his first club Atletico Paranaense in 2011 - the club were relegated to Serie B - before joining Bahia on a permanent contract the following year.

Flamengo's Kleberson (R) vies for the ba

Kleberson failed to impress at Bahia and was subsequently loaned to Major League Soccer (MLS) outfit Philadelphia Union, where he scored one goal in 11 matches.

He then joined Indy Eleven in the North American Soccer League (NASL) where he spent a season before ending his playing career in 2016 following a brief spell with Fort Lauderdale Strikers.

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A sad end to a playing career which initially promised so much - but at least he’ll always be able to show the grandchildren his FA Cup winners’ medal and, of course, his World Cup medal.

What's he up to now?

For those wondering what Kleberson is up to now, he’s still involved in the game.

Since last year he’s been working with Philadelphia Union’s Academy, helping to train the club’s next generation of potential stars.

“For kids in our academy to now have the opportunity to look up to [him] is special – a world-class player that’s won a World Cup, that has played at the highest level for Manchester United,” Union manager Jim Curtin told reporters. “It’s really cool to see the smiling faces look up and see a guy that they can really learn from.”

Despite the way his career ended, at least Kleberson hasn’t fallen out of love with the beautiful game.

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