Deep into injury time in one of Manchester United’s most important games of the English Premier League season a 17-year-old Italian on debut hit a stunning winner and lifted himself to instant stardom.
Federico Macheda was the teenager who came on as a substitute and scored late on Sunday for the Red Devils — helping them to a 3-2 win after they had earlier trailed 2-1 to Aston Villa at Old Trafford. The finish was of the highest quality — as he curled the ball past Villa goal-keeper Brad Freidel from a wide angle. His fine touch, turn and shot were made all the more amazing given their significance in the context of both the match and season. But, who is this 17-year-old hero And how did he get to live his fairytale Born in Rome in 1991 (yes, 1991), Macheda, known by team-mates as “Kiko”, is a striker who developed his game through the ranks of the Lazio youth programme in Italy — where he is considered as one of the brightest talents of the future. He made a move to Manchester United in September 2007, and quickly moved up the ranks — starting out in the under-18 side, before progressing to the senior reserve team. He officially signed a professional contract with the club on his 18th birthday, in August 2008. Although Sunday’s goal puts his name permanently on the minds of all Manchester United faithful, it’s not the first time he has made an impression. Just six days before he scored a thrilling hat-trick for the reserve team in a 3-3 draw against Newcastle at St James’ Park. What did you think of Macheda’s goal Can he go on to become a top club and international player Share your thoughts in the Sound Off box below. Macheda was eventually booked for celebrating with the crowd after his strike — though he later revealed he had hugged family members — who were in the crowd to see his debut.
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He was named man of the match for his goal (after playing just 30 minutes) and although he wasn’t allowed the bottle of wine he won for the honor — he told Manchester United television “this is the best day of my life.” In the post-match interview on Sky Sports, Macheda said: “I think this is the day of my dreams — to score a goal like that on my debut.”