Six Brazilian stars who have played for United
In Manchester United's illustrious 140-year history, there has only been a small group of players from Brazil who have represented the Reds.
Only six players from the South American country have pulled on the famous United shirt - all of which have done so in the last 15 years, since 2003.
Here, we take a closer look at the first six Brazilians to have played for the club...KLEBERSON (2003 – 2005)
Kleberson, or Jose Pereira Kleberson to give him his full name, made history by becoming the first Brazilian to play for the Reds when he arrived from Atletico Paranaense on 12 August 2003 – just a month after helping his country win the World Cup in South Korea and Japan. His eye-catching performances at the tournament drew interest from several top European clubs, but Sir Alex Ferguson moved fast to bring him to Old Trafford. Seen as a replacement for Juan Sebastian Veron, Kleberson unfortunately sustained an injury in only his second outing for the Reds and went on to make just 30 appearances in two seasons, scoring two goals, before joining Turkish side Besiktas in the summer of 2005.
The Brazilian star who spent the longest period at Old Trafford, Anderson arrived as a relatively unknown player in the summer of 2007, after spending just one season with Porto. Although he took a while to settle into his new surroundings, the stylish midfielder soon found his feet and became a regular squad member. He netted nine goals in 181 appearances during his eight years at the club, which included a five-month loan at Italian side Fiorentina, and won four Premier League titles, the League Cup, two Community Shields, the Champions League and Club World Cup. His highlights included scoring in the penalty shoot-out wins over Chelsea in 2008 and Tottenham in 2009, to help the Reds lift the Champions League and League Cup respectively. Anderson later joined Internacional in his home country in 2015 but, after spending time out on loan at Coritiba, he is now a free agent.
Like many Brazilian footballers at some stage in their careers, Possebon played for the famed Internacional, where the wonder-kid left to join United in the summer of 2008 at the age of 18. The midfielder made a promising start to life at Old Trafford but sustained an injury after being on the receiving end of a thumping challenge from Emmanuel Pogatetz in a League Cup tie against Middlesbrough, which curtailed his progress. Possebon struggled to break into the team on his return to full fitness, making just eight appearances for the Reds in total – all of which came in the 2008/09 season. He spent the following campaign on loan at Braga in Portugal, before moving back to Brazil by joining Santos.
Arguably the most successful of the Samba stars to grace the Old Trafford turf to date, Rafael quickly became a fans’ favourite following his arrival from Fluminense. The energetic right-back proved to be a revelation under Sir Alex during an outstanding debut season in 2008/09, in which he was shortlisted for the PFA Young Player of the Year award, and firmly established himself as a regular starter when captain Gary Neville hung up his boots in 2011. Rafael helped the Reds to win three Premier League titles, the League Cup, three Community Shields and the Club World Cup during seven stellar years at the club. He demonstrated his eye for a spectacular goal with stunning strikes against Arsenal, Liverpool and Queen Park Rangers among the five he scored in his 170 appearances for the Reds, before joining Lyon, in France, where he has spent the last three seasons.
The twin brother of Rafael, Fabio joined United at the same time after impressing club scouts at the 2005 Nike Premier Cup in Hong Kong, where the pair starred for a Fluminense youth team, and moved to Manchester in January 2008 without ever playing for the Fluminense first team. Although he was unable to establish himself in the first team in the same way as his sibling, largely due to Patrice Evra’s consistency in his main position at left-back, Fabio still turned out 56 times for the Reds during his five-year stay at the club. He also played the full 90 minutes in the 2011 Champions League final defeat to Barcelona at Wembley – in the same year he won his only Premier League winners’ medal. After a loan spell at Queens Park Rangers in 2012/13, the versatile defender has since gone on to play for Cardiff City and Middlesbrough, whom he still represents, and came up against the Reds in the Premier League for both clubs.
ANDREAS PEREIRA (2012 – present)
Pereira has now returned from a productive loan spell at Valencia – his second successive season out in Spain after another temporary stint with Granada. The attacking midfielder, who was born in Belgium but opted to play for Brazil, the nationality of his father, made a huge impression in United’s youth teams following his arrival in 2012 and made his senior debut in 2014 in the League Cup – the same competition in which he scored his only United goal to date, the following year against Ipswich. Having only made 13 appearances for the Reds so far, Pereira will be hoping to kick on in 2018/19.
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