Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughThe curious case of Manchester United's Federico Macheda - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough The curious case of Manchester United's Federico Macheda - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

The curious case of Manchester United’s Federico Macheda


On the 5th April of 2009 Manchester United played Aston Villa at Old Trafford. They went into the game in second place in the Premier League, two points behind Liverpool but with two crucial games in hand.

Late in the second half with United losing 2 – 1 Sir Alex Ferguson threw on Federico Macheda in place of Nani. The 17-year-old Italian had scored a hat trick in the reserves against Newcastle a few days earlier.

With ten minutes to go Ronaldo did what Ronaldo still does and scored with a low drive. Then in the third minute of injury time Macheda played a one two with Ryan Giggs, received the ball with his back to goal, took one touch to back flick it inside, turned and fired it just inside the post.

Martin Tyler and the football world at large got very excited by the moment of genius from the youngster. ‘Kiko’ followed that up the week after with another off the bench decisive goal in a 2 – 1 win over Sunderland.

His first start came in the FA Cup semi final against Everton, his full league debut was away to Middlesbrough, he was unable to add to his account in either.

The next season Macheda made an early appearance in the League Cup and followed this with his Champions League bow against CSKA Moscow, he didn’t however appear in the Premiership until 27th March coming on as an 84th minute substitute against Bolton.

He started one league game and had a further three substitute appearances that season scoring one goal.

The next season started in a similar vein, two starts, five times off the bench, he was then loaned to Sampdoria from January.

Danny Welbeck had made his Premier League debut a few months before his team mate and marked the occasion with a 30-yard strike into the top corner.

After that moment he had fallen off the radar somewhat in the wake of expectation that Macheda was the future star striker in United’s ranks.

While Macheda was back in Italy, Welbeck set about developing his game in the Premier League with a season long loan at Sunderland.

The following season after being given a starting berth in the Community Shield he went onto make 39 appearances scoring 12 times.

Meanwhile his young colleague who had played 14 times for Samp without scoring in their unsuccessful battle against relegation, returned to United but after three appearances was loaned to QPR.

Macheda was unable to break into the London side’s first team and played only three games before returning to United with an ankle injury.

Last season perhaps demonstrated the gulf between the two players’ careers at the moment. Welbeck is now considered a regular member of the match day squad, starting and scoring in massive games like against Madrid at the Bernabeu.

Macheda didn’t play for United at all last season; he was loaned to Stuttgart in January with an option to purchase but after only five appearances he returned to United and the offer was not invoked.

It’s difficult from the outside to know where it’s gone wrong for Macheda; did his evident confidence switch over to arrogance before his career or ability warranted it? Or is he simply not a top level striker?

Either way it goes to show that no matter how much of a bang you start your career with there is no guarantee that you’re going to make it.

Allen Whyte

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