Kleberson's strange journey from Manchester United to the unknown

Kleberson  - Manchester United

Kleberson seemed destined for superstardom following his move to Manchester United 13 years ago, but it didn't work out quite as planned.

Kleberson  - Manchester UnitedKleberson - Manchester United

Born in Uraí, Brazil, Jose Kleberson was a lover of the beautiful game from a young age in his native country. His early performances for childhood side Atlético Paranaense grabbed the attention of managers throughout the world after he helped to lead his side to the Brazilian Serie A title back in 2001. His natural ability spoke for itself and was something by which Brazil manager Luiz Felipe Scolari was extremely impressed.

So impressed, in fact, that he rewarded the youngster with a place in Brazil's squad for the 2002 FIFA World Cup. After a string of impressive displays which included a role in the starting XI for the final, now-World Cup winner Kleberson attracted the attention of numerous European clubs. Barcelona, Newcastle, Celtic and Leeds all expressed their desire to sign him, with the latter coming close to sealing the deal before the midfielder decided that he couldn't leave Brazil without his girlfriend.

Fast forward a month or so and it was Sir Alex Ferguson who finally landed his signature for a fee of £6.5 million. He was initially unveiled alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, but nobody could predict just how different their footballing fates would wind up being. After sustaining an injury early on in his United career, Kleberson proceeded to make just 20 appearances in his two years at the club before leaving for Besiktas. A once promising tenure at Old Trafford was cut short, and his journey would only get more bizarre from there.

Sir Alex Ferguson before the matchSir Alex Ferguson before the match

After two years in Turkey he resigned from his contract, claiming that he hadn't been paid the correct wages by the club. A couple more year-long stints followed as the Brazilian bounced around from Flamengo to Bahia to the Philadelphia Union. It was in America that he experienced a brief run of form, even scoring a last minute goal in an MLS game against Toronto FC.

The slope down the leagues would continue however, as the World Cup winner signed for Indy Eleven of the North American Soccer League - a team that sounds more like a restaurant than a football club. After two seasons in Indianapolis the now 37-year-old moved to his current club, Fort Lauderdale Strikers.

Whilst Kleberson never became the household name that he was tipped to be, it begs the question of whether or not that fame truly matters. After all, with a World Cup winners medal to his name and a chance to ply his trade in America at his age, you'd have to imagine he's still pretty satisfied with how things have gone. Then again it won't mean much to Manchester United fans, who still remember the promise and potential that he once possessed. A truly odd career.

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