There have been many great things done at Manchester United by Sir Alex Ferguson, but signing the Brazilian World Cup winner Kleberson was not one of them.
He began his career with Atlético Paranaense in Brazil, winning the state championship twice and the Brazilian championship on 2001 with his hometown team. It was his performances during this season that brought him to the attention of Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari; he was then called up to the 2002 World Cup squad.
Immediately after the World Cup, Scolari stated that Kleberson was as the “driving force” behind Brazil’s World Cup triumph. This drew the attention of many clubs including Leeds United who were front runners for his signature until her decided to stay in Brazil with his girlfriend, who he was unable to marry until her 16th birthday.
Manchester United then swooped in 2003, paying £6.5 million for the defensive midfielder. Seen as a replacement for Juan Sebastian Veron he failed to live up to any expectations of him. Injured in his second appearance for the club, making only 30 appearances in two seasons he scored two goals.
Kleberson believes his unsuccessful spell was down to bad fortune rather than poor performance, “I arrived in Manchester, along with Ronaldo, with a lot of hope but left with huge sadness,” he explained, an injury in only my second league match proved to be a very negative factor and in my second season I wasn’t given many chances. I believe I could have been a bigger success in English football. But not everyone is guaranteed success at United.”
Only two seasons later Manchester United decided to cut their losses and sold him to Besiktas for £2.5 million. He again failed to make an impact in the Turkish league, and ran into more problems when he accused the Turkish side of not paying him. He was then offloaded back to Brazil with Flamengo.
Returning to Brazil after a disastrous spell in Europe, he sought to resurrect his career. Something that he has done. In 2009 he was recalled into the Brazil squad for the 2010 World Cup Qualification campaign and the 2009 Confederations Cup. We may even see him in South Africa later this year.
On a return to the Premier League, his advisor Chris Nathaniel said, “Kleberson believes he has unfinished business in the Premier League. He is back playing for Brazil and is really enjoying his football.”
So he could even come back to these shores, but only time will tell.
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