Federico "Kiko" Macheda (born 22 August 1991) is a rising star of the Manchester United attack. His explosive start to life in England was labelled a fairytale but was in fact the umpteenth example of greed driving the modern game towards the abyss.
Macheda developed in Lazio’s youth system and it was clear from a young age that he had a big future. What Lazio didn’t realise was that this future lay with bloated superpower Manchester United.
Due to an absurd imbalance in regulations, at the age of 16 Macheda wasn’t allowed to sign a professional contract in Italy but he was allowed to join United’s academy.
United swooped and stole him away, offering Lazio £200,000 in compensation – about enough to buy Ade Akinbiyi in Championship Manager 93/94 – in a replica of Chelsea’s despicable poaching of Reggina 15-year-old Vincenzo Camilleri and United’s own plundering of Roma’s Davide Petrucci.
Lazio President Claudio Lotito, himself a huge crook, was left fuming.
Macheda explained his mixed feelings on the move: ‘I love Lazio, but I love money much more,’ he said. ‘At Manchester United I will live out my lifelong dreams of playing at Old Trafford and sleeping with Z-list ex-Hollyoaks slags like Gemma Atkinson.’
When the unheralded Macheda scored as a substitute on his debut to hand United a 3-2 win over Aston Villa in April 2009, it was reported as a ‘fairytale.’
This was untrue. United were always going to win with a late goal because they always do and Macheda scoring it was all too predictable.
People were seemingly unable to get over the fact Macheda is still so young. After his first goal in England there was a tiresome trend for former professionals saying ‘when I was 17, I was still beating one off in the broom cupboard at school…’ and such.
Macheda received his first start in the 2008-09 FA Cup semi-final against Everton. It was an awful, awful game of football.