The name Federico Macheda became synonymous with the 2009 Manchester United v Aston Villa game, where the young Italian scored in the 93rd minute in breath-taking scenes, securing the win for Manchester United. Fans went wild over the winning goal and thought they were onto something special as Macheda had curled the ball into the goal. However, this once promising Italian has faded from headlines and memories alike.

In game stats for Federico Macheda 

Where it began

Federico Macheda was born in Lazio Rome, 22nd August 1991. Macheda was spotted whilst playing at the local Atletico Prenestino club in Rome and swiftly began his football career with Lazio’s youth team. However his stay at Lazio’s youth team was cut short. Under Italian football regulations, under 18’s aren’t allowed to sign professional contracts meaning he wasn’t permanently tied to the club. This regulation meant Manchester United was able to snap up Macheda shortly after his 16th Birthday and bring him to the UK where regulations allow players aged 16 and over to sign professional contracts. Macheda’s family made the move to England and Macheda officially joined the club as a trainee in September 2007.

The young striker showed promising talent and went straight into Manchester United’s Under-18 side. Macheda managed to pick up the only goal of the game on his debut, securing the game in a 1-0 win away over Barnsley in September 2007. During his first season, Macheda finished as top scorer for Manchester’s Under 18s, scoring 12 goals in 21 appearances, and picking up his reserve team debut in a 2-0 loss to Liverpool.

On his 17th birthday in August 2008, Macheda signed his professional contract with Manchester United. Macheda continued to play in the U-18 side for the 2008-09 season but also had the occasional appearance for the reserves, this this becoming more frequent towards the end of the season. The Italian striker scored 8 goals in 8 games in reserves, including a hat-trick in a 3-3 draw with Newcastle in March 2009, earning him a first team place in a match against Aston Villa at the beginning of April, where Macheda would score his explosive goal.


This goal propelled Macheda’s career giving him new opportunities and a spot on the bench for United’s next two games. Macheda made his second appearance for the club in the second game he was benched on against Sunderland. Dimitar Berbatov was taken off and Macheda subbed on and in just 46 seconds after entering the pitch, Macheda had the ball in the back of the net.

The FA Cup semi-final had arrived against Everton and Sir Alex Ferguson opted to rest his big name players and Macheda got his chance at a first start in a Manchester United shirt. Macheda however was unable to live up to his previous performances and failed to score. At the start of extra time, Macheda was subbed off and Dimitar Berbatov came on. By the end of his first season in the Manchester United first team, the young Italian was name as the Jimmy Murphy Academy Player of the Year in recognition of his performances.

Macheda continued at a steady pace throughout the 2009-10 season, making several appearances and doing enough to earn a new contract in December 2010 in a four year deal tying him to the club until June 2014. The newly re-signed striker picked up an injury soon after securing his new contract and was out of action until 21st January when he returned against Sunderland. Sadly Macheda very soon obtained another injury meaning he was left out of the win over Aston Villa in the League Cup Final.

Macheda and Sir Alex Ferguson

Macheda’s luck seemed to pick up when he was named on the bench for United’s clash against Chelsea in April, where he later came on in the 72nd minute as a sub for Paul Scholes whilst United was down 1-0. Chelsea managed to score a second goal in the 79th minute, leaving fans deflated and short on hope, however Macheda managed to score a goal two minutes later giving United fans a consolation goal.

Competition for play time at Manchester United was fierce with names such as Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, Michael Owen and Danny Welbeck already well ahead of Macheda when it came to choosing the team. In 2011, Macheda went out on loan to Sampdoria and scored his first and only goal for the club during his first start for the club during their Coppa Italia tie against Udinese. Despite best efforts it wasn’t enough and Sampdoria’s poor performance led to their relegation to Serie B. Macheda chose to rule himself out of returning to Sampdoria for the 2011-12 and opted to remain at Manchester United.

Macheda playing for Sampdoria

Loan Time

Macheda spent the next few years on loan to Queens Park Rangers, VfB Stuttgart, Doncaster Rovers and Birmingham City, before Machester City released him. The once high hopes people had for this young player seemed to be slipping and Macheda was falling down the list of importance. The Italian striker signed on a free transfer to Cardiff City in May 2014. Macheda picked up several goals and a yellow card during his first few appearances for Cardiff. The Italian progressed through the 2015-16 season with no league starts for Cardiff and only a handful of substitute appearances. Due to the lack of playtime, Macheda was happy to go on loan to Nottingham Forest in the hope of more play time until the end of the season. The pre-season tour of Germany soon came around and Macheda was left out and placed on the transfer list but new manager Paul Trollope. At the end of August 2016, his contract was cancelled by mutual consent.

Speaking about leaving Manchester United, Macheda said “I don’t regret anything. Manchester United was a very beautiful experience for me and I still have many fantastic memories of my time there. Memories that I still take with me everywhere I go. In Manchester I grew up not only as a player but also as a man and I will always cherish those wonderful memories of my time playing for the biggest club in the world.”

Macheda had managed to obtain a trial at Serie B club Bari after his release from Cardiff, however he failed to impress and was not offered a contract. This signalled a low point and seemed to be indicative of Macheda’s future performances. After the blow of no contract with Bari, Macheda signed with Novara mid December 2016 on an 18-month contract. Macheda was awarded the number 10 shirt during his time with Novara. During the 18-month stint at Novara, Macheda scored several goals before moving on when his contact expired at the end of the 2017-18 season.

Macheda signed for Novara December 2016

Super league Greece club Panathinaikos wanted Macheda and in September 2018, he signed a three-year deal with them. Macheda’s career had gone from high to low and was now picking back up. Macheda completed 100 appearances with the club and became just the 13th foreign player out of 202 who played at the club to do so.

Frederico Macheda’s career had been plagued by inconsistent form and injuries. He had gone from promising hopeful with a bright career to falling out of sight and failing to make any impression. While his loan periods recent clubs seemed to have been a write off, Macheda seems to have found himself again at Panathinaikos and it shows with the Italian striker picking up goals once again. Macheda is hoping to continue with his recent form at newly signed club Ankaragücü, which he joined summer 2022.