Fred and his teammates: Manchester United have always been stacked with stars and legends. In the past, the team has developed many academy players and homegrown talents and they, in turn, have helped the club produce iconic figures. But only developing the academy kids are not always enough, a club also needs to spend money to acquire talents from other clubs to build a sustainable winning model.
In 2018, Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United did the same when they signed a Brazilian legend Fred from Shakhtar Donetsk for £47 million. His promising left foot convinced the managers to start him day in day out, despite his unconvincing performances kept on enraging the spectators. His displays on the pitch have often left his teammates surprised – sometimes for the right reasons, sometimes for the wrong.
He made his United debut on 11th August 2018 at Old Trafford against Claude Puel’ Leicester City. Mourinho fielded his team in a 4-3-3 formation and here are the eleven players who got to witness Fred’s charismatic display first-hand –
#1 David de Gea:
During that time, de Gea was one of the best goalkeepers in the world. After a dip in form, he is finding his feet once again this season and has till now saved his team on numerous occasions.
On that specific match too, he made quite a few great saves but ended up conceding a last-minute goal to Jamie Vardy. Well, the Spaniard was probably surprised by the fact that the manager had taken Fred off the pitch before the final whistle.
#2 Matteo Darmian:
Before the start of the 108/19 season, the Italian defender was speculated to leave the Theatre of Dreams but eventually decided to stay to watch the greatness of our beloved Brazilian. In their game against Leicester, Darmian did enough to hold the fort as the Red Devils secured their win.
Although, his time with Fred was limited as he left before the start of next season. Probably, watching Fred play made Darmian realise how far behind he was as a footballer, so much so that he returned to his country to train hard.
#3 Eric Bailly:
The centre-back is currently serving as a rotation player at the club and has fallen down the pecking order majorly due to injuries and inconsistency. He was partially at the fault for the goal that United conceded at the last minute.
The Ivorian is still at the club and has made over 100 appearances in all competitions for them. From time to time, the spectators do get left awestruck by his performances, for both good and bad reasons and whenever he starts along with Fred, the fans just know that they are in for a show.
#4 Victor Lindelof:
The Swedish is fighting hard to secure his place in the starting eleven at the moment. His ball distribution ability is a necessity in the team currently. He has been at the club for more than four years now.
He has been a trusted teammate of Fred and has often tried to emulate the Brazilian’s performances on both end of the spectrum. As things stand, Lindelof may get another long-term contract from the board before his time at the club comes to an end.
#5 Luke Shaw:
Of course, the teammates were not going to let their midfield general Fred down on his debut. This was when Shaw stepped up and scored the second goal for his team and later that proved to be the divider between the sides.
Luke’s career has gone either uphill or downhill. Like, this season he is struggling once again after registering a brilliant last season. He still has a lot of time to learn and grow his game and United certainly see him as a valuable asset.
#6 Andreas Pereira:
Since joining the club back in 2014, he has spent the majority of his time on loan spells. He started the game against Leicester in the defensive midfielder position and supported his teammates decently throughout the game.
He has only been able to spend two full seasons with Fred as his teammate till now. Maybe he decided to leave the club temporarily since then because he saw Fred train and play and understood that he had a lot of catching up to do.
#7 Paul Pogba:
It may not look like it but Pogba is still United’s costliest player of all time. Against Leicester, he opened the scoring by successfully converting a penalty kick. His stint at the club has been full of controversies, injuries and falling outs.
Since Fred’s arrival, these things have played a major role in Pogba’s lack of playing time at United, while Fred has stayed fitter and played more matches than him. Well, I guess we have a clear winner of the ‘who is more reliable?’ debate!
#8 Juan Mata:
Mata was destined to become one of the greats of the game. After a mesmerizing season at Chelsea, it was looking more and more certain to happen. But since then, a lot of things have happened and often the circumstances have not favoured him.
Mourinho used Mata as a right-winger against the Foxes and he was able to put in a formidable performance for his team. His career has come towards the end and he is bound to feel lucky after sharing the dressing room with Fred for such a long time.
#9 Marcus Rashford:
He is still believed to become the team’s talismanic figure in the future. The English youngster started the game as the centre-forward but that position never really worked out well for him.
He now starts mostly as a left-winger and it’s quite evident that he loves to play on that side. What’s more important is that Fred himself prefers to play on the left and dominate the half-space. So, now we know who should get the credit for Rashford’s success as a left-winger.
#10 Alexis Sanchez:
He started the match as the left-winger and stayed on the pitch for the whole 90 minutes. In that particular game, he manipulated the spaces well and came quite close to getting an assist but failed to – pretty well sums up his time at United.
Sanchez was supposed to be one of the best Manchester United signings of all time but it’s safe to say that the reality turned out to be far worse than the expectations. In fact, one of the highlights of his United stint has to be to get to share the pitch with Fred.