Rodrigo Possebon was tipped to become a wonderkid at the Theatre of Dreams, making a £3million switch from Brazilian club Internacional back in January 2008. The youngster failed to make an impact, and secured just three Premier League appearances.
However, the midfielder has broken club records, notably being the reason behind the longest injury-time to be played at Old Trafford - 12 minutes. The Red Devils welcomed Middlesbrough to Manchester in September 2008 for a Carling Cup fixture. Goals from Cristiano Ronaldo, Ryan Giggs and Luis Nani secured a non-descript 3-1 win over the Boro, but the trio were overshadowed by Emmanuel Pogatetz’s horrific challenge on 19-year-old Possebon.
Feared to have broken his leg in his first ever start for the Premier League giants, a red card for captain Pogatetz did little to soften the blow for United. While the injury wasn’t as bad as initially expected, it ultimately damaged the form, and career, of Possebon in Sir Alex Ferguson’s side, following their recent European glory.
Possebon was rated as highly as the likes of Adnan Januzaj and James Wilson are currently, and struggled to make his comeback until the following year. Replacing Cristiano Ronaldo in an FA Cup, the Brazilian struggled to create the impact formerly witnessed by scout John Calvert-Toulmin (who was in fact in Brazil scouting Rafael and Fabio Da Silva).
After just three Premier League appearances, the youngster found himself loaned to Portuguese side Braga, but an unproductive spell saw him return to his homeland on a permanent move, joining FC Santos.
The midfielder has since struggled to make his mark in South America – and is yet to score a professional goal in a top flight competition. Making 30 appearances for Santos across two seasons, he returned to Europe to sign for Vicenza – an Italian side which registers Possebon as a citizen due to his father.
Making appearances for Italy’s Under-19 and Under-20 national teams, he couldn’t recreate his potential for his club, and failed to make a single first team appearance before returning once again to Brazil, lining up for both Criciuma and Mirassol.
However, a move last season allowed Possebon to show the talent spotted by Manchester United back in 2008. Signing for Juventude, a club who competed in the Copa Libertadores just 13 years ago, he now finds himself playing in Serie A, the fourth tier of Brazilian football.
He was also on the brink of winning his first league title – clinching only the Community Shield and League Cup during his spell with the Red Devils – as Juventude look set to claim their first title since 1999, when Possebon was aged just 10. Instead, he had to settle for promotion as The Parakeets fell to a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Botafogo-PB in the final.
Now 25-years-old, he has begun to climb the ranks again, joining Nautico in the recent transfer window. The 1967 Serie A runners-up, Nautico fell from the top flight after dropping into the relegation zone last season, and Possebon will be aiming to help his current club return to the top flight.
The second-tier side currently sit in 12th place, and while they don’t look destined for a return to professional football this season, Possebon’s hopes of scoring a professional goal in a top flight tier could soon be worth the wait.