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Serie A clubs are understandably upset about English sides scooping up youngsters such as Federico Macheda from their academies.
Lazio President Claudio Lotito cried foul after the 17-year-old, a product of the Rome club’s youth system, scored a stunning winner for Manchester United against Aston Villa in his Premier League debut on Sunday.
He has a point. After doing the hard part of nurturing the players’ talents, wealthier foreign sides can step in and enjoy the benefits. It’s not the best way to encourage clubs to invest in their academies and FIFA and UEFA are looking at tightening the rules on the transfer of under-18s.
But Lotito’s annoyance is only justified to a certain degree as, if Macheda had stayed at Lazio, it seems unlikely that he would have got the chance United boss Alex Ferguson gave him to hit the headlines at such a tender age.
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.