5th April 2009, Manchester United are trailing 2-1 to Aston Villa at Old Trafford with less than 10 minutes left. United are struggling to create chances and a third defeat in a row seems inevitably, following shock defeats against Liverpool (home) and Fulham (away). Aston Villa seem to be comfortable on the pitch and United look on the verge of collapsing, but unexpected can always happen at Old Trafford.
Out of the blue, Cristiano Ronaldo hits a powerful strike from outside the box finding the net and putting pressure on a soon-to-be shaky Villains defense. United gain momentum and a fresh comeback seems on the cards. Late substitute Danny Welbeck almost grabs the winner but is denied by Brad Friedel. Injury time, Ryan Giggs passes the ball to a certain Mr. Federico Macheda… and the rest is history.
A debut so astonishing leaded Sir Alex Ferguson to openly claim that his new Italian wonder kid was “Top drawer, a hero in the making, just as Cristiano was. It is hard to believe he is just 17”. Since then, Federico -aka Kiko- Macheda has gone on to make 33 appearances and scoring five, and has had two unfruitful loans at Italian outfit Sampdoria and Queen’s Park Rangers.
Those trying to write Macheda off, despite still being an Under-21 player, should not make the usual mistake of writing Manchester United too soon. Ferguson knows a thing or two about developing young talent, so that if the fierce Scotsman is convinced Macheda has every chance of making it Old Trafford, let’s be patient and trust Ferguson’s judgement once again.