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Name Kleberson
Gender Male
Ethnic Brazilian
Job Brazilian Footballer
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
  Atletico Paranaense

2019 07 05 Retrieve

[Kleberson says his old international teammate Dani Alves could be a hit at Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool after the full-back’s departure from Paris Saint-Germain] I wanted to get Dani Alves to join me in the MLS. He’s a phenomenal player with amazing quality. I feel maybe could fit in well at Liverpool and Klopp would like him as a style of player. He’s very technical, fast and has an incredible temperament in the big games. He’s a winner

[And his old side will take on Peru on Sunday for the chance to lift their first Copa America title since 2007] Brazil’s performances in the Copa America so far have been solid but not amazing. The South American teams have improved over the last few years especially Venezuela with younger players. Brazil are not in a great moment for the national team, for me now there is a lot of change and quite a few young players coming through giving the coaching staff tough decisions to make. Brazil are playing well but they are doing just about enough. We have some performances where we are like ‘wow’ against Peru where we won 5-0. But we aren’t playing well consistently enough. I want to see Brazil play against good teams like England and play amazing football with style and be proud of it.

2019 07 06 Retrieve

[Kleberson has admitted that he struggled to adapt his play style to the Premier League after arriving at Old Trafford] When the team isn’t doing well, it’s hard to change your style, I couldn’t do it. When I came to Man Utd I tried to change the player I was, more passes, more aggression, more tackles, but it’s too hard and wasn’t what my game was about. From 17 to 24 years old, I was playing that fluent Brazilian style, to move the ball quickly and receive it in space. At Man Utd, I had tough moments a lot of the time, I got a lot of injuries and struggled a lot. It was a difficult time, and when you see a lot of evaluation from your performance at top teams the criticism can be very high, particularly at Man Utd.

[The 40-year-old went on to say that the style of play in the modern Premier League would have suited his game more] The Premier League now is so much more possession-based. You see teams try to unbalance the other team with creative play, diagonal passes and passes between the lines

2019 07 06b Retrieve

[Kleberson knows all about the difficulties of making a positive impression at Manchester United] Last season for Man United, Fred and Andreas Pereira had come in off the back of a good season. When you have players from different cultures and Brazil, they play more technical, more balls to feet in a fluid Brazilian style. When the team is not doing well, it’s tough because they may not be suited to the playing style. When Man United play two players in the middle, it can be difficult to not see much of the ball, and because of that Brazilian style, these players may struggle. If the team is doing well and other players are improving, this will give Fred and Pereira the encouragement to come out and play more and we see their improvement in England

[Kleberson feels Fred and Andreas Pereira need to work on becoming better suited to English football] It would be good to see them both get on the ball more and be more creative within a game. They need to become more athletic, and aggressive and hungry to win the ball back. Players and fans from South America favour the technical and attacking side of the game a lot more

2019 07 08 Retrieve

[Dani Alves’s former international team-mate Kleberson, who saw out his playing days in the United States, has said he would like to have seen Alves make the move to America, but sees him as a good option for European Champions Liverpool] I feel maybe he could fit in well at Liverpool

2019 07 10 Retrieve

[Kleberson says Manchester United should sell wantaway star Paul Pogba] It is the right move to sell Paul Pogba, he’s a great player and his talent is unbelievable. But his style is a little bit different, and not particularly what Man United need. He could use this opportunity now to leave and get a fresh start, play in a different atmosphere, and embrace a new challenge. Sometimes it’s hard to come to Manchester United and adapt to play a particular style. It doesn’t mean he’s not a good player with great quality. There’s a lot of criticism around the players, sometimes it doesn’t always go well. You work hard, you want to perform for the team, but some things go wrong, and these can be out of your control.

[Kleberson refused to compare his issues at Manchester United to what Pogba is experiencing] Paul Pogba had played a lot more games, more opportunities than me when I was at Man United. I had many injuries in the time when I was there. He’s played well since being there but not to the level we should expect from him. When he plays for France, we see it, he was a massive part of them winning the World Cup. He’s the heartbeat of the France team

2019 07 10b Retrieve

[Former Red Devils midfielder Kleberson recently suggested it was time for Paul Pogba to move on from Manchester] It is the right move to sell Paul Pogba, he’s a great player and his talent is unbelievable. But his style is a little bit different, and not particularly what Man Utd need. He could use this opportunity now to leave and get a fresh start, play in a different atmosphere, and embrace a new challenge

2019 07 10c Retrieve

[Kleberson says Romelu Lukaku leaving Manchester United this summer would be a huge loss for the club] If Romelu Lukaku is to leave the club, it will be a big loss for Manchester United. I’m a big fan of Lukaku, he’s a great player. When you think about coaching, everyone wants to take him, he is a very good player to have in the squad. Whether he starts games or is on the bench, he will always help the team to score goals. If he starts up top, you can play off him and help the midfield and other forwards to score more goals. He can also drift out wide and cause problems for defenders there, he killed Brazil in the game at the World Cup from doing this and he’s very unpredictable. I understand if Lukaku wants to leave and play more games. He didn’t start too many games for Man Utd last season. Strikers survive on goals and statistics, it’s tough. The season changed so quickly for him, if players prepare mentally in the pre-season, he may find his feet again. I hope he decides to stay at Manchester United for one more year and proves his worth

[Kleberson went on to praise Wan-Bissaka as a good signing] Wan-Bissaka did a very good job at Crystal Palace. I know when the money is discussed (£50m) it is a lot that has been spent on the player. But Manchester United need a player like him. He’s very quick, aggressive and athletic. He’s got a great opportunity at a big club. It’s a good signing, and one which will give great energy to the team

2019 08 15 Retrieve

[Kleberson says Harry Maguire may be the most expensive defender in world football, but the £80 million man is no Rio Ferdinand] If you look back, Ferdinand was unbelievable. And I don’t think anyone could be close to his level of performance. His style was totally different to the current United defenders. His commitment to regain the ball was smart, he covered space well against players like Didier Drogba. I don’t see Maguire or [Victor] Lindelof being able to do the same. They’re far, far away from Ferdinand. Rio is one of the best I’ve played with. I always knew one-on-one he was going to win the ball, so I could prepare to receive to receive the ball from him and attack. I was 100 per cent sure he would win the ball

Harry Maguire is a big name for any English club. In the World Cup he did a good job, but he’s going to have a few tough moments in one on one’s and his pace is not the best. United need to ensure he’s helped by a strong midfield, to help cover him and defend as a unit. I don’t know if he will manage to cover on his own like at times against Chelsea.

In the Premier League, you have a lot of good strikers but not as many good defenders. Maguire has moved for a lot of money but I think the defenders aren’t as good in the league as they were a few years ago, therefore teams need to pay more. With Maguire and Lindelof, I don’t know if Chris Smalling and Phil Jones need to leave but of course their opportunities to play will be a bit less. Especially as the new defenders have played very well in their first opportunity

2019 08 16 Retrieve

[Kleberson says Marcus Rashford needs to start demanding goals in order to emulate Manchester United great Cristiano Ronaldo] If Rashford plays like he did last weekend, he’ll score at least 18 goals this season. He’s unbelievable and he only needs one opportunity to score. He’s had a great start and now has the confidence to continue. Now he has to take his chance and demand goals like Cristiano Ronaldo did at Man United. He has to look at his goals last season and say ‘I want to score more this year’

[Kleberson has been impressed by Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James in particular] I think Aaron Wan-Bissaka has still got things to improve on but he’s a solid defender, you can see he has quality, but it was his only his first game. A lot of players prepare well for their first game but we need to see how he does for the upcoming games. Daniel James has impressed me. It’s good to see a player like that who is very fast in the Premier League. If you are direct and quick in this league, you can help the team pick up a lot of points. That’s how the Man United fans want their team to play, direct in attack and creating plenty of opportunities

2019 08 23 Retrieve

[Kleberson hopes to see Alisson return to action quickly] For goalkeepers, it’s never easy when they get injuries. Allison gives a lot of positives and confidence to the Liverpool defence. So it’s a big loss for them and the Brazil national team too. Ederson is the same level but of course Allison is a big name. It’s not easy at the beginning of the season because players prepare a lot for a strong, solid season. He’s got to rest now and start again, so he’ll be behind the other keepers

[Kleberson hopes Gabriel Jesus can play a huge role for Pep Guardiola’s squad this term] Gabriel Jesus is a talented player. He is still figuring out his place with Manchester City and has scored good goals with some brilliant performances. After his injuries, he was a bit inconsistent but it’s a new season and I am so happy for him how he did in the Copa America. I hope he has a great season with Manchester City. It’s not easy for him because they have great players, so he has to keep consistent

2019 10 18 Retrieve

[Kleberson has talked up the idea of the Red Devils signing Serie A duo Kalidou Koulibaly and Mario Mandzukic but he isn’t convinced James Maddison would be the right fit] I don’t think it would be great for Maddison to join United. They [Leicester] have had a good start to the season but when you do a big jump from a smaller club to United, it is mentally tough for these players. They have to be able to learn to adapt to play at a big club. It will be interesting to see if they can, but I don’t know if he will be a good enough signing for United

When you sign big players like Mandzukic, you can see the impact they bring into the club, not just on the pitch but also off the pitch. They bring experience for the young players which helps to improve them as they grow into their careers

Koulibaly looks athletic and physical which will bring more energy in the defence. Maguire is a big name in England, but it would be good for United to look outside of the Premier League to find players who could play for them

It is a big loss for the team to have such a talented player missing, but it is Manchester United vs Liverpool, you never know what will happen! It is more of an emotional game over a technical game

2019 11 21 Retrieve

[Kleberson labels England ace Rashford as Man Utd’s best player] Marcus Rashford has been the best United player this season. He looks dangerous going forward and in front of goal, he plays with a lot of confidence. Defenders are scared when he gets on the ball and starts running at them. He is a strong and fast player and this year has added goals to his game. He plays in a similar way to Cristiano Ronaldo. When they played for United, they both always wanted to get the ball forward and played with an attacking mindset. They both brought confidence to the team and scored some good goals

[Pogba has been tipped to leave United next year, but Kleberson sees the World Cup winner taking up a vital leadership role within Solskjaer’s line up and staying put for a while yet] There are a lot of rumours that Paul Pogba is either staying or leaving Manchester United. Ole wants to bring younger players in the team and he wants Pogba as the leader of them. He is a great guy and everyone in the club really likes him so this could be his chance to be the leader. He is a champion and a leader for France, and now I see him being at United next season and beyond

2019 11 23 Retrieve

[Kleberson urges Man Utd to launch Erling Haaland and Emre Can raids by former Red Devils midfielder] Haaland is a player wanted by many clubs, not just Manchester United. He would bring something different to United that would really help them when attacking. Ole is looking to build for the future and with Haaland United can start to compete again

Emre Can would be a great player to help in the midfield at United. I know he used to play for their rivals Liverpool, but it is important to see what good things he would bring to the club. Not only would he help United for the future and he would add strength within the midfield for this season

At the moment, United are focusing on the young players and looking into the future for the club. Ole has started a lot of young players this season and they are starting to look good. We look much better going forward and more secure in defence. When I first saw Andrea Pereira and Fred play together in midfield, I was worried for the team but now when I see them play together, they look strong and solid

2019 11 30 Retrieve

[Kleberson says Coutinho would be a good option for Man Utd] Man United have a good team, but they need a number 10 who will come in and control the game going forward. Someone who will create chances, control the ball and score goals where possible. Many teams in the Premier League have good players going forward, who can score goals but at the moment Manchester United don’t have that. Philippe Coutinho would be a good option for United. I know he has struggled recently at Bayern Munich and before at Barcelona but players like him don’t lose their quality. He’s a brilliant player and would be a great asset for Manchester United

[Solskjaer has seen his future called into question amid the struggles for consistency] He won’t get the sack, but he continues to have a lot of pressure on him. They need to be planning for the future. I don’t like when teams change the managers too quickly as they need time to adjust and implement their plans. If they keep hold of Ole, he will have a good team in the future, they will be strong and will have had enough time for the manager to bring in his methods and tactics. It will be a good opportunity for young players to play in the team, they might bring more players in who could help the team improve

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!

2019 12 15 Retrieve

[Manchester United flop Kleberson has revealed that he was conned into signing for the Old Trafford side by Ronaldinho] There were two clubs interested in signing me: Manchester United and Leeds. It was an easy choice, but there’s a funny story about it, too. When [Manchester] United’s interest in me was confirmed, I was with the national team in France for the FIFA Confederations Cup. I can remember it clearly: I was with Ronaldinho and his brother/agent, Assis. Ronaldinho said: ‘They 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! He sent me to Manchester. That’s a joke between us until today. He knows that he owes me one

2019 12 19 Retrieve

[Kleberson says Manchester United should try to sign Jadon Sancho and Saul Niguez] It’s a lot of money to be spoken about (£100 million/$131m) but he would make a big impact and add a lot to the team. He really is a great player and very exciting. A lot of players are wanting to come to Man United now as they come to play attacking football and make a good impact on the team, imagine if you had him, Mason Greenwood, Daniel James and Rashford all playing together. Solskjaer is so good for this team and working with the young players so I hope that he gets given the opportunity to continue

I like the speculation around Saul, he’s a great player and at 25 years old he’s the right age to come into Man United, a big team, big club and play really well. He’s a very talented and dynamic player, a bit different to what we have in the Premier League. More stylish and technical with his passing and movement, he understands how to play fast and turn defence into attack. As a box-to-box midfielder, he can fill that role well for Man United bringing a level of consistency which is what they really need. He can probably help more on the right side [of midfield] because if you saw Man United play, most of their opportunities come from the left

[Kleberson added on United’s chances of silverware and a top-four finish this season] If Man United continue to play well, like they did against Spurs, then they’ve got a good chance of securing a top-four position. But the key is consistency, as they don’t need to be looking at other teams but concentrating on their own results. Manchester United as a club need to be pushing for the title, but that’s not possible now, so achieving top four would be a success

2019 12 19b Retrieve

[Kleberson says Pochettino would be great for Man Utd but Solskjaer should be given more time] Mauricio Pochettino is a great manager and did great things for Tottenham whilst he was there. He’s a manager who will be wanted by a lot of Premier League sides because of what he’s achieved, so definitely for Man United he would be a great option. But the way Solskjaer has got the team playing, his philosophy and his belief in young players means they don’t need to rush this decision. The transition over the last year hasn’t been easy but it’s the right way to go in the long-term.

The results right now aren’t perfect, but he’s built a strong team for the future. It’s not easy to bring in a new coach and style for the team, and if they were to change manager now it would need another transition period for the club. If next season it’s still not working, then they need to think about a potential new coach to bring success back to the club

The Paul Pogba situation reminds me of when I was at the club. I was struggling with injuries and long periods out, so I struggled to be a regular in the team. It was really tough, as all footballers want to play and show what they can offer the team. Paul Pogba has seen the team achieve good things whilst he’s been injured, and he’ll want to be back out there. It will be tough because he can’t impact how the team plays and help the team gets results. This will be an important time for Pogba, because it’s been a long time since he last played and now he’ll be fighting for his position. He’ll need to perform straight away on his return, but he’s a talented player that can raise his game, so he needs to show it

2019 12 21 Retrieve

[Kleberson says Paul Pogba appears to struggle with the tactical side of the game at Manchester United] Paul Pogba is an immensely talented player and brings a lot to the Man United team, especially with his technical skills. But the way Man United play now, sometimes he struggles with the tactical side of the game. With the current formation and trying to play quickly through the defence to attack, it doesn’t work for Pogba. As he wants to have more of the ball at his feet, to control the game and show his technical skills to create chances. But if he can come back and fit into the midfield, it will be amazing for Man United as he’ll be able to take United to the next level and offer something new to the attack

[When quizzed on the exit talk surrounding Pogba] He’s not getting sold in January, no. When he comes back, he’ll play well, with a smile on his face and do what he did a year ago when I came here. Paul has been fantastic. We know we’ve got one of the best players in the world, when he plays well and gets fit. He needs time

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. 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 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