Federico Macheda: where is the former Man Utd wonderkid now?

It was 13 years ago today that a 17-year-old Federico Macheda burst onto the scene with a famous winner for Manchester United.

It’s April 5th, 2009. United are in a three-way dog fight with Liverpool and Chelsea for the Premier League title and had lost their last two league games on the bounce.

If Alex Ferguson’s men were to give up any more ground in the race for silverware, Rafa Benitez’s Liverpool team would have control.

The goal

United welcomed Aston Villa to Old Trafford for what should have been a routine but imperative victory, and Macheda watched on from the sides.

Unexpectedly, United found themselves 2-1 behind with half an hour to go, they needed goals and Ferguson looked to Macheda…

Within minutes of Macheda coming onto the pitch, Cristiano Ronaldo had equalised for the Red Devils and they went hunting for a winner. In stoppage time, the debutant got the opportunity he had always been waiting for.

Ryan Giggs knocked the ball out his feet and stroked it in to the path of Macheda, the Italian instinctively Cruyff turned the defender with his first touch, turned on a dime and curled the ball into the far corner beyond Brad Friedel.

Old Trafford erupted! It was a sensational goal and it was enough to catapult Ferguson’s men to the Premier League title that season.

Macheda had the world at his feet, but then he seemingly disappeared into memory.

What happened to Macheda?

Well, he went on to score in his very next game, against Sunderland, and the hype grew even further. United fans thought they were onto a real superstar by the end of the 2008/2009 season, but from that point he would go on to make only 36 total appearances for the club.

Most of his time as a United player was frequented with loan spells: Sampdoria, Queens Park Rangers, Stuttgart, Doncaster Rovers, and Birmingham City, none of which proved a particularly happy hunting ground for the forward.

In 2014 he signed for Cardiff City after being released from United. The move didn’t do much to reinvigorate his career, scoring just eight goals in 33 appearances for the Championship side, before being shuffled along on loan to Nottingham Forest.

Ahead of the 2016/2017 season, both parties agreed to the termination of Macheda’s contract via mutual consent. He left Wales for Italian shores, signing with Serie B side Novara.

A new dawn at Panathinaikos

federico macheda.jpg

A slight upturn in form in Italy eventually earnt Macheda a move back onto a big-ish stage, as he signed with Greek outfit Panathinaikos in September 2018.

The striker has gone from strength to strength in Greece having secured a regular starting berth and has notched up a solid record of 40 goals in 113 appearances. Given that he’s contracted till 2023, and now aged 30, Macheda will be looking to secure one final contract to see out the twilight of what has been a rollercoaster of a career.

Whether he stays at Panathinaikos or makes one last attempt at success on the major European stage, one thing’s for sure, he’ll live long in the memory of United fans around the world.

All thanks, to that one famous goal.

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