How did United’s Macheda get away, asks Italy

April 6, 2009

Most Manchester United fans had no idea who Federico Macheda was before the Italian netted a stunning stoppage-time winner against Aston Villa on Sunday.

The 17-year-old’s goal could ultimately be the one that sealed the Premier League title for United.

He has been scoring regularly for United’s youth and reserve teams since joining the club in September 2007 after developing through Lazio’s youth system. Born in Rome, he signed professional forms last August and is regarded as one of the most promising young prospects of Italian soccer.

what irks Italians is that he is plying his trade in England. AC Milan chief executive Adriano Galliani has said it is a scandal that young Italian players can get hoovered up by big European clubs.

Remember Italy striker Giuseppe Rossi first appeared at United before finiding his way to Villarreal.

FIFA and UEFA want to do something to protect under-18 players and keep them at their local clubs. The trouble is that until they sign professional contracts, the ownership of young footballers is complicated.

It might be good for the clubs to hold on to good young players but what about the teenagers themselves?

Having scored on his debut for the European champions at Old Trafford, it’s doubtful Macheda wants to be anywhere else.

PHOTO: Manchester United’s Federico Macheda (L) shoots past Aston Villa’s Luke Young (R) to score during their English Premier League soccer match in Manchester, northern England April 5 2009. REUTERS/Phil Noble


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I agree with Galliani, but AC Milan is doing exactly the same. They contracted Pato and as soon as he turned 18, he moved to AC Milan.

It would create an interesting subject if FIFA and UEFA manage to get a rule or law that protects U18’s. Clubs will have to work on their own youth academy.

Posted by Soccer Tricks | Report as abusive

A law is of course good,as long as it does not interfere with the freedom of choice of the player.

Posted by Obwaletum Richard | Report as abusive

This is blatant hypocrisy by Galliani. Back in the day when Italian clubs had money to compete with Premier League clubs on the transfer market, they had no problem snapping up the likes of Obafemi Martins, Pato and Kaka.

Posted by Red Devil | Report as abusive

Before everyone goes too crazy, the guy scored one goal. Yes it was a special one, but please one goal is not enough to create a law about the purchase of under-18 players, though I can see it happening as a knee-jerk reaction.

Posted by Graham | Report as abusive

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