Eight Brazilians who have represented the Reds
As we celebrate Brazilian midfielder Fred's four years at United, here is a breakdown of every samba superstar to have represented the club.
There have been several Brazilians at the club over the years, and there have been some firm fans’ favourites. But how many can you name off the top of your head?
Once you’re done guessing, we’ve taken a closer look at the eight stars below…
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 – a year 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 brought 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 and four years later announced his retirement from the professional game.
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, who played youth international football for Italy, 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.
RAFAEL DA SILVA (2008 – 2015)
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. Following a year at Turkish outfit İstanbul Basaksehir, Rafael moved back to his native Brazil, where he currently plays for Botafogo in the Brazilian Serie A.
FABIO DA SILVA (2008 – 2015)
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 and came up against the Reds in the Premier League for both clubs. Fabio now plays for French outfit Nantes.
A look at the boys from Brazil who have played for United over the years.
The midfielder has made 75 appearances for United to date, and has recently been on loan at Brazilian outfit Flamengo. 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 Academy graduate spent time on loan at Granada and Valencia before becoming an important part of the United side in 2018/19 - a campaign in which he registered our Goal of the Season. He spent the 2020/21 season on loan at Serie A side Lazio, where he racked up 28 appearances.
FRED (2018 - present)
Fred joined the Reds from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2018 and has proved to be a hugely reliable performer. The midfielder made his United debut on the opening day of the 2018/19 season and grabbed his first goal a month later, in a 1-1 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers. Nimble, hard working and with an excellent range of passing, Fred really proved what a talent he is in 2019/20, a campaign in which only two team-mates made more appearances in all competitions. The Brazilian continued to impress in 2020/21 and then, in 2021/22, he produced his best season to date on a personal level. Fred made 36 appearances, scoring four goals and assisting six. What's more, the 29-year-old reached the milestone of 100 Premier League appearances, scoring in his landmark match against Leicester. He also played a pivotal role in key victories over Leeds, Arsenal and Crystal Palace.
ALEX TELLES (2020 - present)
Alex Telles moved to Old Trafford from Porto in October 2020, having gaining a reputation as one of the most revered left-backs in world football. Telles hit the ground running at United, and accumulated 24 and 25 appearances respectively in his first two seasons at the club. With a wealth of Champions League experience under his belt, the 29-year-old was a key figure for the Reds as we reached the final of the 2020/21 Europa League. Despite missing the beginning of the 2021/22 season due to injury, Telles established himself as a regular in both the Premier League and Champions League after the turn of the year. Despite being a defender by trade, our Brazilian left-back is also known for his attacking tendencies, and his sublime volley against Villareal in the Champions League was nominated for UEFA's Champions League Goal of the Year.