United Youth

Manchester United Reserves & Academy News

Possebon to join Macheda and Petrucci in the Azzurini ranks?

Posted by nickogs20 on April 19, 2009

United’s (hitherto) Brazilian midfielder Rodrigo Possebon has been called up by Italy Under-20 coach Francesco Rocca for next week’s friendly between the Azzurini and Germany in Milan.

Rodrigo was born and raised in Sapucaia do Sul, a town in the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, and spent his early footballing years in the neighbouring city of Porto Alegre with Sport Club Internacional, but comes from a family with strong Italian heritage, as suggested by his surname. Like his father before him Rodrigo holds both Italian citizenship and an Italian passport and, having thus far been ignored at youth international level by his homeland, the 20 year-old now appears ready to consider throwing his lot in with Italy.

The lack of attention from the selectors back home is perhaps unsurprising – Rodrigo was largely unknown in Brazilian football before his move to England, even as part of the same Inter youth team as Alexandre Pato, now of Milan. The young midfielder has impressed since his €350k move to United in January 2008, some terrific reserve displays pushing him into the first-team picture this season, but it is often the case that young players (not just from Brazil) playing abroad are almost ‘out of sight, out of mind’ and have to do that bit extra in comparison to home-based players in order to earn recognition.

That has not seemingly stopped Signor Rocca taking note of the classy playmaker’s obvious potential. This call-up has apparently been in the pipeline for some time, no doubt instigated by the fantastic start to the season enjoyed by Rodrigo. The well-publicised injury incurred in a horror tackle from Middlesbrough’s Emmanuel Pogatetz back in late September set the youngster back somewhat and it has taken him some time to get back up to speed, but recent displays have indicated a return to something approaching his best form and – with the prospect of a trip to the Under-20 World Cup later in the year a particularly juicy incentive – Rodrigo will be hoping he can carry that over into his Azzurini debut next week.

No firm decision on where his international allegiances lie will need to be made until competitive fixtures roll around, but Wednesday’s “Quattro Nazioni” clash with Germany – as well as perhaps some persuasive words from Messrs Macheda and Petrucci – could go a long way towards making Rodrigo’s mind up.

Update: 18/4/09 – Rodrigo has issued a statement to the Brazilian press on this matter. Thanks to Rafael Maranhao for bringing this to our attention:

“I am very happy to be called up and to have chosen to defend Italy, a country that has recognized my work. There is no come back. From the moment I got the Italian citizenship I knew this could happen. I see it as a way to return what Italy has given me: the possibility to play in Europe and to defend Manchester United. I will do my best to secure a place in the U-20 team and to have a chance in the senior national team later on,”

13 Responses to “Possebon to join Macheda and Petrucci in the Azzurini ranks?”

  1. PeeJay said

    Good news. Being Italian, this is undoubtedly a lift.

    Just like to point out that Possebon isn’t an Italian surname, which almost always end with a vowel.

  2. […] Possebon to join Macheda and Petrucci in the Azzurini ranks? […]

  3. […] Possebon to join Macheda and Petrucci in the Azzurini ranks? United’s (hitherto) Brazilian midfielder Rodrigo Possebon has been called up by Italy Under-20 coach Francesco […] […]

  4. Alex said

    PeeJay, are you sure you’re Italian? Plenty of northern Italian surnames don’t end in vowels due to differences in pronunciation. Possebon is a surname from the Veneto, which happens to be a part of Italy. It is as Italian a surname as Rossi and Cannavaro, but I wouldn’t expect “Italians” to know that.

  5. rafaelmaranhao said


  6. Rafael Maranhao said

    Brazilian fans don’t know much about Rodrigo, that’s true. Since Brazilians in top Premier League teams is something relatively recent, people still tend to watch more Spanish and Italian leagues. But, taking from his commments, I’d say Rodrigo Possebon chose Italy because he didn’t feel he would have the same chance of making it to the Brazilian team. Rodrigo sent an “official explanation” to Brazilian press through his spokesman. His comments can be found here: http://fcbrazil.wordpress.com/2009/04/18/young-talent-possebon-chooses-italy/

  7. […] Possebon has been impressive this season, on the fringes of the first team squad before and after an injury affected the middle of his campaign, whilst being a constant impressive force in the Reserve team. You can read more on this story, as ever, at United Youth […]

  8. harts said

    Does anyone recon Sam Hewson will get released this summer???

  9. D for Derivative said

    Hey Nick

    I haven’t seen much mention of young Petrucci on team sheets just lately. Any idea what has happened to him?

  10. cem said

    harts –

    i personally believe hewson wont get released, maybe sold i just think its because of the amount of competition in that area even at reserve and academy level.

  11. nickogs20 said

    Petrucci is injured.

    I can see Hewson maybe being allowed to move on for a fairly low fee or possibly on a free if someone comes in for him. Don’t think he’ll just be cut loose, in an ideal world we’d keep him on for at least another year but there is so much competition in midfield that something’s got to give there this summer.

  12. wdkf said

    i know he’s italian thru his father’s roots, but i wonder how much of an italian he really is. don’t think he has lived there, as he started his profession back in brazil.

  13. PeeJay said

    Alex, yes, some Northern Italian names end in consonants, like Meneghin or Buffon but I’m quite sure that Possebon isn’t an Italian surname.

    As you can see here;


    there is not a single registered person with the surname “Possebon”.

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