|Desc||The World Cup winner impressed for Luiz Felipe Scolari’s formidable unit in 2002 and seemingly had the pick of Europe’s top clubs after the games in the far east. However, his young girlfriend could not legally become his wife until after her 16th birthday, inhibiting his departure from his homeland of Brazil. When they married, in 2003, Kleberson joined the Red Devils for a fee in the region of £6.5m. An early season injury meant that Sir Alex Ferguson had to plan his line-ups in his absence for the best part of two seasons and he was shipped out to Besiktas with his reputation damaged. He has since rejuvenated his career with success at Flamengo and earned a call-up to the 2010 World Cup with the national team|
|Org||Brazil National Team|
|Club as Player||Manchester United|
2019 12 14 Retrieve
[FIFA World Cup winner Kleberson recounts how Brazil team-mate Ronaldinho opted for Barcelona instead of Manchester] I can remember it clearly: I was with Ronaldinho and his brother/agent, Assis. Ronaldinho said, ‘[Manchester United] want to sign both of us.’ I said, ‘OK, let’s go, then!’ I was so glad that he would be coming with me. I went back to Brazil and kept negotiating with United, but then Ronaldinho fooled me and went to play in the warm weather at Barcelona!
2020 04 24 Retrieve
[Kleberson recalls Old Trafford transfer] I’ve told them before but when they hear it from someone like Quinton, they believe what I’m saying is actually true and that I played with these players too!
When we speak now, I always say, ‘You told me to go to United and then you went to Spain!’ We were sat down in a room in France with his brother and we were talking about interest from United in both of us
He didn’t say he was definitely going but I was convinced he was, so I decided I was going to United. When I got back to Brazil after the Confederations Cup, I started watching English TV to help learn the language but then, Ronaldinho went to Barcelona!
[However, despite the hype, Kleberson says he never struggled with the sense of expectancy] had played my first World Cup final when I was 23 years old and I didn’t feel any pressure on the field,” he points out. “I had been in a dressing room with Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Cafu and Roberto Carlos. They made me feel like family, so I was always very positive and confident. But there’s no doubt that joining United in that period was a big challenge for me. I didn’t feel the pressure of being the first Brazilian to play for the club but there was hype from everyone because I had won the World Cup the year before. It’s also hard to go there after a big name like Veron. I watched him a lot and he was very talented. Roy Keane too, he was a very big name in United.
[The United captain was well known for his fiery temper and former team-mates have recalled how the Irishman would scream at Kleberson on the training pitch] He could definitely explode sometimes,” the 40-year-old says, “but it was always for the good of his team-mates and his team. Sometimes he screamed at me but at that time I didn’t know much English, so I would just tell myself he was saying something good and kept going! Everybody knows his personality but when I was there, I didn’t have any difficult moments with him. He pushed me a lot. He would try and get me more engaged in the game and he taught me a lot about closing down opponents. Everyone thinks they know Keane and his personality but those close to him know he’s a nice guy and he really tried to help me
[Kleberson may have only made 20 Premier League appearances during his two-year Old Trafford] Our first conversation was so difficult, as I only spoke Portuguese when I arrived. But he always tried to teach me new words. Especially in the beginning he wanted to learn something in Portuguese and he was trying to teach me English. He would come over to me in the dressing room and say something simple like the days of the week. We had a very good relationship. Even if he didn’t pick me a lot, he gave me a lot of opportunity to be engaged with the team
[Given the excitement which greeted his signing, he is, thus, regarded as one of United’s biggest transfer flops] Yes, I think it is. Everyone knows how hard it is to move to a different country with a different style of play. I got a lot of injuries and it took a lot of time to get back to playing at a high level. I wasn’t getting selected because of the way injuries affected me, not because I wasn’t good enough. I tried to train harder to get back in the team and would play with the second team (Under-23s) to work on my fitness. But they had a lot of good players there at the time and it wasn’t easy to get a spot
I can’t say it hasn’t been a hard transition into coaching but it has been enjoyable. I have great experience that means I can share a lot of good stuff with the kids and that’s very nice. My goal is to come back to the Premier League as a coach. I can’t say my experience there wasn’t good. It was tough but I learned a lot and I know if I got the opportunity to go back, things would be completely different
2020 04 25 Retrieve
[Former Manchester United midfielder Kleberson believes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the right man to lead the Red Devils to a first Premier League title since 2013] When I saw he was coaching at United I was really happy for him. He has a good personality, is very positive and confident and he knows what he is looking for. I know he’s got a lot of management technique from Sir Alex Ferguson and he’s very good at what he does. A lot has changed at United recently. They’re looking for young players and that’s a big change. I’m sure he can make United a top team again and win the Premier League
When he [Fred] arrived there it wasn’t an easy transition. He had a few tough months in the beginning and that was normal. He figured out quickly what he had to do different and now you see him he is more consistent player for United and more dynamic because he has changed his way he plays. When he was in Brazil he played further forward and now you see him more of a defensive role. It’s taken him time to get used to it but he has turned into a top player for United and it’s always good to see Brazilians doing well