Monday, 6 April 2009

Macheda hails dream debut as Lazio call for change

Lazio President Claudio Lotito has called for the Italian Football Federation to make changes to the rules regarding home-grown players to halt an exodus of youngsters from moving abroad.

Federico MachedaThe Lazio chief was speaking after one of the club's former starlets Federico Macheda marked his Manchester United debut with a stunning last-gasp winner against Aston Villa in the English Premier League on Sunday.

The 17-year-old left Lazio in September 2007 at the age of 16 after coming through the ranks of the Roman club's youth system and the Lazio owner is still bitter about the transfer.

Lotito is adamant that new rules need to be put in place to protect the clubs who produce home-grown players from losing out when they get older.

At present Italian clubs are not allowed to tie youngsters to professional contracts until the age of 18 whereas in England the age is 16.

"We tried in every way to stop Manchester United from taking away our player but the present Italian regulations don't give you any type of defence," he said. "In reality we find ourselves in front of a proper cattle market.

"I talked repeatedly with Macheda's parents, we established a dialogue, but it was not possible to do anything. We could not compete with United's offer.

"That is not right, we have to be provided with more reliable and concrete rules than those which govern Italian clubs."

Macheda admitted his stoppage time winner, which took the European champions to the top of the Premier League table, was the stuff of dreams.

"I think this is the day of my dreams. It was my dream to have my debut and to score a goal like that. I very much enjoyed it," he told Sky Sports.

"(The manager Sir Alex Ferguson said) just play simple as you know. Just go out and play... score a goal," he added.

The youngster managed to share the moment with his family as he ran over to the corner flag of Old Trafford stadium to celebrate.

"I run to my dad and my family to celebrate because they deserve it as well," he explained.

Meanwhile Macheda's father believes his son made the right choice by leaving Lazio to join the English giants.

"It's thanks to Lazio that today Federico is doing well in his English experience," Pasquale Macheda told Sky Sport 24. "He was a part of Lazio's youth team and he was fortunate there to learn a lot and become a serious lad from a sporting point of view.

"Federico was born in Roma and grew up at Lazio, and still has his heart there. But it's not easy to resist an offer from a prestigious club like Manchester.

"Now we are enjoying the moment and we are proud of what Federico has done. He is a serious young man with his feet firmly on the ground."

Source: Sky Sports / Sky Sport 24

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