Ex-United man Manucho features in shock Barcelona defeat

Former Manchester United player Manucho played a part in Real Valladolid's shock win over Barcelona on Saturday.

Remember Manucho?

Back in 2007, Manchester United signed the Angola striker from Petro Athletico after he had impressed on trial.

Having been top-scorer in his homeland for the previous two seasons, the then-24-year-old agreed a three-year deal at Old Trafford.

However, he was soon sent on loan to Greek side Panathinaikos, where he made nine appearances and scored four goals.

With a work permit later secured, the player returned to Manchester, where he played little, before moving to Hull City on loan for the second half of the season.

It was here where he began to show flashes of what he was capable of, scoring two goals for the Tigers and setting up another in 14 appearances.

However, Manucho was not destined to have a long-term career in England, with United agreeing his transfer to Spanish side Real Valladolid the following summer.

It was a brief and uneventful spell for one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s more questionable signings. But it was in Spain that Manucho began, slowly, to show he could cut it in Europe.

After one season with Valladolid (in which time he scored four La Liga goals and set up two) he was sent back on loan, first to Turkish side Bucaspor and then to Manisaspor.

In short, he was becoming something of a journeyman but with little to write about the journey.

He scored just two goals during those spells, and returned to Spain surely wondering what the future held for a player whose time at United was long since over.

And then, with Valladolid in the Segunda Division, Manucho began to get his chances.

In the 2011-2012 season the Angola international played 18 times in Spain’s second tier, netting four times. A year later, the club were back in La Liga and Manucho remained in the team, making 25 league appearances, scoring eight and setting up a further four.

This was easily his most impressive season to date, and unfortunately his latest campaign has not seen him replicate either the goal-scoring form or the starts.

The vast majority of his appearances this season have come from the bench.  However, he has started three of the last five league matches, including Saturday's game against Barcelona.

He may not have scored, but he did play a part in what proved to be one of the shocks of the Spanish season to date, with the Valladolid winning 1-0, putting another huge dent in Barca's title campaign and giving the relegation-threatened side a major boost in their survival campaign.

Valladolid are outside the bottom-three only on goal-difference, which shows just how impressive Saturday's victory was.

Manucho played for 64 minutes of that match, making one key pass and having a pass-completion rate of 62%. He also made three tackles during the game.

So while it may have taken him a long time to enjoy a moment like the one that occurred against Barcelona this weekend, it happened.  And that is certainly something for the former United player who for a while looked like having plenty of clubs, but no home.

image: © pucela project

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