London, Apr.7 (ANI): Had Federico Macheda not moved from Italy to England to play football for Manchester United, his family would still have been living a life of poverty, feels his father.
When the 17-year-old scored his sensational injury time winner against Aston Villa on Sunday, he ran straight into the arms of dad Pasquale in the Old Trafford crowd.
And after the thrilling game Pasquale told how the call from Man United scouts to sign the teenager came in the nick of time two years ago.
He said: "It was hard to pay the bills and we had been worrying about having enough money to get to the end of the month.
"Then we got that fateful telephone call from someone with an English accent."
Federico was offered 73,000-pounds-a-year to come to Manchester - a huge amount for a family who had for years struggled to put food on the table.
Pasquale had taken on a string of low-paid jobs, including doing night shifts so he could spend his days mentoring his son.
Federico's mum Loredana worked all sorts of impossible shifts too. And she was also at Old Trafford with Pasquale and younger son Simone, 15, to see Federico's man-of-the-match debut performance.
"It was like being in a dream. All these people celebrating Federico's goal. I cried. He dedicated the goal to me. He won champagne for being man of the match and gave it to us," The Mirror quoted Pasquale, as saying.
Federico was born in Rome and, after being spotted at the local Atletico Prenestino club, joined Lazio's youth team.
But Italian football regulations prevent under-18s signing professional terms - which allowed Manchester United to sign him on a three-year deal aged 16 in September 2007.
And before moving to Manchester, the hard-up family went on their first holiday for years.
Now Federico is enjoying some of the trappings of football fame.
He is shown beaming with team mates Cristiano Ronaldo and Rio Ferdinand as well as surrounded by a group of grinning female fans in a nightclub. (ANI)