Defying Ferguson at Man Utd 'the worst mistake of my life', admits Macheda

Federico Macheda | Manchester United
The Italian forward burst onto the scene as a 17-year-old but saw his career nose-dive after favouring a Serie A loan move over one in England

Federico Macheda has acknowledged that snubbing the advice of legendary Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson was the “worst mistake” he ever made.

The Italian forward made a stunning impact for the Red Devils as a 17-year-old, with a couple of vital goals after being thrust into the first-team fold helping to seal Premier League title success.

That was, however, to be as good as it got for the youngster at Old Trafford.

As he began to slip down the pecking order, the decision was taken to ignore pleas for him to take in an English loan spell as he instead pushed for a switch to Serie A.

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Macheda told ESPN on that career-defining call: "I had a few runs of games but I needed to be playing every week.

"Fergie wanted me to go on loan; I could see that was sensible. Many Premier League clubs came in for me including Everton and Sunderland.

"But I wanted to play in Italy, in Serie A. Fergie did not agree and said I should play in England, where he could keep an eye on me. He said he didn't have the same power in Italy. 

"I insisted on Italy and that was the worst mistake of my life. 

Federico Macheda Manchester United

"I should have listened to Fergie. Sampdoria had been in the Champions League playoff that season; they had a good team. 

"I was going to replace Antonio Cassano and play up front with [Giampaolo] Pazzini. I started well and scored straight away against Udinese, then started against Milan, Napoli, Juventus, Roma.

"But then they sold Pazzini to Inter Milan. I was only 19; I couldn't take the responsibility that he had. 

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"We went down the table and I started to get strong criticism, with people saying: 'He's come from Man United; who does he think he is?' For the first time in my life my confidence dropped. I began to ask myself: 'Am I good enough?' And I started to get injured."

Macheda did eventually return to England to take in loan stints at Queens Park Rangers, Doncaster Rovers and Birmingham City.

He was, however, to struggle for goals and left United for Cardiff City in 2014.

That move did not work out as planned either and after a brief loan stint at Nottingham Forest, the 25-year-old is now on the books at Serie B outfit Novara.