Federico Macheda has paid tribute to former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson for the effect the Scot has had on his playing career.
Ferguson was the man who brought Macheda into the first-team fold at Old Trafford a staggering eight years ago, and had a hand in helping the striker recover from being let go by Cardiff City ahead of joining Italian outfit Novara Calcio last December.
Speaking to Gazzetta Dello Sport (via ESPN) about the impact Ferguson has had on him, Macheda gushed about his respect for the legendary United manager and admitted he would never be able to thank him enough for all of his advice.
The 25-year-old said: "Yes, I spoke with him before coming to Novara. He means a huge amount to me, both on a human and a footballing level. I will never be able to thank him enough."
Macheda burst onto the Premier League scene after marking his senior bow with the winning goal in a 3-2 comeback victory over Aston Villa in March 2009, and went on bag five goals in 36 appearances for the Red Devils during his five-year Old Trafford career.
Although he failed to build upon his breakthrough campaign under Ferguson, Macheda has enjoyed a fairly decent career, with spells at Cardiff, Lazio and Birmingham all coming before his eventual move to Novara.
The Italy Under-21 international, whose contract with the Serie B side runs out in July, has already notched five goals in 15 games for the club, stated that he did not consider it too late for him to ply his trade in Italy's top flight again before the end of his career, before going to wax lyrical about the memories he still has of turning out in the United jersey.
He added: "I certainly don't think it's too late. I just need a bit of consistency -- and besides, I've already played at that level (with Lazio).
"I was living a dream (at United) in one of the best stadiums in the world, in one of the best clubs in the world. I still have all the shirts in a bag, and I can remember what my former teammates told me. They kept telling me never to give up because you can go from the very top to the very bottom in an instant."
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