David Moyes Deserves Criticism, but Not from Manchester United Flop Kiko Macheda

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David Moyes Deserves Criticism, but Not from Manchester United Flop Kiko Macheda
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

If you were at the Theatre of Dreams on April 5, 2009, you will have witnessed what we believed at the time as the birth of a future legend.

That was the day that Federico Macheda made his first bow in a Manchester United shirt, coming on as second-half substitute against Aston Villa at Old Trafford.

Of course, that day is now famous for one moment of magic.

With United losing, 2-1, and on their way to handing a league championship into the contorted hands of Liverpool, the 17-year-old Italian striker weaved a spell with a flick and turn, and then curled the ball into the top corner of the net to a rapturous noise from The Faithful that could be heard across continents. 

The game was won, 3-2, because of Kiko's piece of wonderment.

Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

In my almost 30 years of going to watch United, the goal is in my top five of the ones I have seen in the flesh.

I have seen Wayne Rooney score an overhead kick against Manchester City, Paul Scholes score a blockbuster to defeat Barcelona in the Champions League and virtually every one of Cristiano Ronaldo's efforts for the Reds, but the goal by Macheda was football at its most theatrical and beautiful. 

Just when it felt like our world had caved in, Sir Alex Ferguson sends on a boy from the reserve team who promptly saves our season. 

Most people in the ground that day had no idea who he was or when he was coming on as sub, but everyone in the world knew what he could do about half an hour later.

John Percy of The Telegraph wrote on Friday that Macheda appeared to be on his way from United after years of loan spells and false starts.

Macheda claims in the piece that David Moyes has never believed in him the way that Ferguson once did:

I don’t think I will stay at United but whatever happens, nobody can take away the memories of my time there. Sir Alex was amazing for me, he believed in me so much. ...

I haven’t had that much to do with him [Moyes] because he has been working with the first team. I’ve been left out from the team and of course that was disappointing but you can understand a new manager wanting to work with new players.

Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Macheda's story is a familiar one of how glory comes too soon to someone so young, and the impact of that attention ultimately burns and destroys a dream.

Fergie did indeed have a lot of faith in the boy, and at 17 years old, he looked like a gigantic prospect. 

An Italian with power and swagger who could only get better as the years rolled on. 

Well, it did not happen like that.

One of the positive things about Moyes' tenure is he has started to trim the fat from the United squad, though, the team's results suggest that he is indeed tactically inept. 

Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

Out has gone Anderson, a player who should have been shown the door years previous. Fabio has been sold after proving that he is not Rafael. And Macheda rightfully has not been given another chance to disappoint in United's colours again. 

Moyes was right to drop Macheda from first-team activity, and the player can leave at the end of season when his deal expires with everyone's blessings. 

It is a shame how things turned out for Kiko, and at 22 years old, he could still have an impact at a new club. 

But we will never see the kid that we saw in 2009 again. 

JON SUPER/Associated Press

He simply is not the player the Red Devils had hoped he would be. I do not think that Macheda feels any resentment towards Moyes despite being completely overlooked. I think he understands that he is not good enough for United and needs to move on as soon as possible. 

However, "that goal" will live on forever, long after Mr. Macheda is just a forgotten name, among the Ralph Milnes and the Peter Davenports. The goal will reign supreme in pub quiz answers of the future and in magnificent television highlight reels of great Premier League climaxes of the past. 

Macheda earned his own little bit of Manchester United history, and no one can ever take that away from him. 

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