When Manchester United announced Fred, he became the only seventh player from Brazil to represent the club. But who were the first six?
United confirmed the signing of Brazilian midfielder Fred yesterday. According to various reports, Fred joins the Red Devils on a transfer fee in the excess of £50m. United were quick in moving for the former Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder, and beat Manchester City to sign him.
With his signing, Fred became the only 7th Brazilian player in Manchester United’s 140 years of history. theSportsRush takes a look at the first six players who donned the Red of Manchester.
Kleberson – 2003-2005 : 30 appearances, 2 goals
Kleberson made history when he became the first Brazilian to sign for Manchester United in 2003. He was signed as a replacement to Juan Sebastian Veron, as Sir Alex Ferguson himself admitted.
Kleberson emerged out of nowhere when he started for Brazil during the world cup in 2002, and helped set-up the opening goal in the final as he helped the team win the trophy. Manchester United defeated Arsenal to his signature, as they missed out on another Brazilian star, Ronaldinho.
However, Kleberson failed to live up to expectations, as injuries marred his United career. He only made 20 Premier League appearances for club before being sold to Besiktas.
However, the 2003 transfer window wasn’t a complete disaster, as United also signed a young Portuguese forward named Cristiano Ronaldo.
Anderson – 2007-2015 : 181 appearances, 9 goals
Anderson was more of a tragic hero amongst the Old Trafford faithful during his time at Manchester United. He signed as a relatively unknown face in the summer of 2007. An year later, he scored the penalty in the final of Champions League against Chelsea, as United lifted the title for the third time in its history.
He was one of the most committed and dedicated personality on the field. He called Sir Alex Ferguson ‘God of Football’ in one of his interviews. However, he was never a guaranteed first-team starter in the Manchester United XI, due to the presence of Scholes and Carrick in the side.
In the later years, he faced problems with consistency and faced huge drop in his form, and was eventually loaned out to Fluminese before being sold in 2015.
Rodrigo Possebon – 2008-2010 : 8 appearances
Brazil-based scout John Calvert-Tulmin recommended Rodrigo Possebon to Sir Alex Ferguson. He played for Internacional, the famed club in Brazil.
Possebon joined Manchester United in the January transfer window for a fee of £3m. But an injury against Middlesbrough in a League Cup fixture blighted his Old Trafford career. He suffered from a series of injury setbacks, and could only make 8 appearances for United in two years.
He left Manchester United to join Santos back in Brazil, but could never become the first-team starter. He has since been a part of 8 football clubs in as many years, the latest being Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.
In the last 8 years, the 29-year old has only played 42 football matches.
Rafael da Silva – 2008-2015 : 169 appearances, 5 goals
One of the da Silva twins, Rafael was probably the most loved Brazilian player at the club. The energetic right-back impressed the Old Trafford in his very first season, and eventually helped the club to two Champions League finals in 2008-09 and 2010-11.
He became the first team started after Gary Neville’s retirement in 2011, and won three Premier League titles with the club. His aggression on the pitch lifted the Old Trafford crowd, and his battles against Liverpool are still remembered.
He played under David Moyes, but left out of favour with Louis van Gaal. He was sold in 2015 to French club Olympique Lyon.
Fabio da Silva – 2008-2014 : 56 appearances, 3 goals
Fabio’s United career never received the same flight as his brother’s. He joined the club with Rafael, but his debut was delayed due to a shoulder injury.
He could never make his place in the first team due to constant presence of Patrice Evra in the left-back position. He still made 56 appearances for the club. Fabio won his only Premier League title in 2010-11, before being loaned out to Queens Park Rangers for the 2012-13 season.
He has since played for Cardiff City and Middlesbrough, and still represents the latter.
Andreas Pereira – 2012- Present : 13 appearances, 1 goal
Fred will not be the only player at Manchester United this season. Andreas Pereira has returned from his loan-spell at La Liga club Valencia. This was his second successive outing in Spain, having played for Granada before, also on loan.
He made his professional debut for Manchester United in the 2014 League Cup. An year later, he scored his first goal in the same tournament. United signed Pereira during his time at PSV Eindhoven in their youth academy.
The Belgium-born Brazilian footballer is yet to play a professional match for United under Jose Mourinho.