Whether Federico Macheda was a good player or not is probably a moot point in most Manchester United fans minds for his goals were so significant in their 2008/09 title-winning season; however, his career path is always an interesting one to dissect.
Ferguson chucked on the plucky 17-year-old forward in the hope that he could find something, anything, against a staunch Aston Villa side whose two goals looked enough to hand bitter rivals Liverpool the title.
Cristiano Ronaldo provided the equaliser, but Macheda is the man who will always be remembered.
In typical Ferguson fashion, it was in the last minute when United made it all; the Italian welcomed the ball into his feet, turned, aimed and curled a sumptuous shot round the helpless Brad Friedel to incite absolute pandemonium around Old Trafford.
As mindbogglingly special the events of April 5, 2009, were, unfortunately there rarely comes a time in a footballer’s career when they can match such highs – and Macheda fell victim to this.
By Macheda’s own admission he should have listened to Ferguson when he advised him not to return to Italy on loan, claiming “not taking his one piece of advice was the worst mistake of my life” (as per goal.com).
And he would be right in saying that. The former Manchester United man managed zero goals on loan at Sampdoria.
So not only was he in disastrously poor form, he was also out of favour with Sir Alex Ferguson, whom he had disobeyed.
His following loan moves around England, playing for the likes of Queens Park Rangers, Doncaster and Birmingham were ultimately too late to save his career, and he eventually left to join Cardiff City under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in 2014 – five years on from his heroics.
Wales proved to be no more fruitful hunting ground than his previous homes, and following a brief and unmemorable stint at Nottingham Forest, he found himself fighting amongst the obscure in the second tier of Italian football.
Macheda has since revived his career in Greece playing for Panathinaikos, scoring six times in 20 appearances for the club, but realistically this is not where he would have wanted to see himself playing all those years when the ball hit the back of the net.
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