What Sir Alex Ferguson said about Federico Macheda in 2009 as he joins Italian second tier club

Kiko Macheda

Every Manchester United supporter (and most football fans in general) will still remember the precise moment when Federico Macheda burst onto scene and made a name for himself in the footballing world.

After scoring eight goals in eight games for United's reserves, the then-17-year-old was rewarded for his good form by earning a call-up to the first-team for the Premier League match against Aston Villa.

With around half an hour to go, the Red Devils were 2-1 down, so Sir Alex Ferguson decided to replace Nani with Macheda. After Cristiano Ronaldo made it 2-2, the young substitute then did something to send Old Trafford (and Martin Tyler) absolutely wild.

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In the third minute of stoppage time, as you can see below, Macheda latched onto Ryan Giggs' pass in the penalty area before producing a brilliant Cruyff turn to beat his man and bending a curling effort into the back of the net to give his side the victory.

Amazing goal, incredible moment, but that's as good as it got for the Italian in a United shirt. After that sensational debut, he went on to register just four goals in 35 games for Man Utd.

His confidence wasn't helped by being loaned out to Sampdoria, QPR, Stuttgart, Doncaster Rovers and Birmingham City before joining Cardiff City after being released in 2014.

Fresh start for Kiko Macheda

He only scored eight times in 33 games for the Welsh club and saw his contract terminated on August 30 after being left out of their pre-season tour of Germany and put on the transfer list.

Cardiff City v Ipswich Town - Sky Bet Championship

However, reminiscent to Mario Balotelli at Nice, Macheda's career looks set for a revival since Serie B side Novara have today posted the first images of the forward with their colours as they confirmed the signing of the 25-year-old.

The Italian second tier club have taken a gamble on the ex-wonderkid but they've agreed an 18-month deal with him and are hoping that he can rediscover his goalscoring touch and fire them to a promotion spot (they are currently 11th in the table).

Ferguson's comments on Macheda

Hindsight's a wonderful thing, but have a read of what the legendary Sir Alex predicted for Macheda. At the time, he was clearly astounded by his talent and even likened him to Ronaldo.

However, as he completed a move to Novara, the Portuguese phenomenon was winning his fourth Ballon d'Or just two days before. Macheda failed to fulfil his potential at United, and here's what his former Scottish boss said about him nine years ago.

Manchester United v Aston Villa - Premier League

"Macheda is top drawer, a hero in the making, just as Cristiano was," Ferguson told reporters, via Goal. "It is hard to believe he is just 17. We probably need to check his birth certificate because I reckon he is at least 28.

"He does not have the lightning reactions of Ronaldo, but he is quick around the box and he has an eye for goal."

At 25, Macheda certainly can't utilise the "youngster" tag anymore, but only time will tell if he is able to revive his career and become a household name in the beautiful game.

What do YOU remember of Macheda's career at Man Utd? Can he still become a success? Have YOUR say in the comments box below!

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