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To say Roy Keane was unimpressed by Kleberson's commitment at Manchester United would be an understatement.
The Red Devils looked to have completed quite the coup in the summer of 2003 when they signed an exciting attacker – but we're not talking about Cristiano Ronaldo. In the same summer in which the Portuguese sensation arrived, United snapped up Brazilian World Cup winner Kleberson for £6.5million – a player who, at the time, possessed a more high-profile reputation than fellow signing Ronaldo.
However, it's fair to say the pair would go on to experience contrasting levels of success at Old Trafford. While Ronaldo would become one of the world's biggest superstars, Kleberson – who celebrates his 43rd birthday this Sunday – was made to feel the wrath of Keane during a nightmare stint at the Theatre of Dreams.
Opening up on one particular episode involving notorious hardman Keane, Eric Djemba-Djemba revealed how the ex-United captain once launched a scathing attack on the underperforming Brazilian winger at half-time of a big European night under the lights at Old Trafford. The former Cameroonian midfielder told bettingapps.com: "Roy Keane had a right go at Kleberson!
"Kleberson looked like he didn't want to play with his body language, and wanted to play slowly. I remember one Champions League game at Old Trafford, we went into the dressing room and Roy Keane was screaming at him!
"He said, 'You need to wake-up! You need to give everything, you need to tackle! Why don't you want to want to play? You just won the World Cup! What's happened? You need to play better!'"
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However, despite Djemba-Djemba claiming Kleberson was undoubtedly shaken up as he came face-to-face with one of football's most fearsome and fiery characters, the midfielder added that the Brazilian flop put on a brave face – something which he believes only added fuel to the Irishman's burning rage.
"It was definitely scary for Kleberson," Djemba-Djemba continued. "He was always smiling, and was still smiling when Keane had a go at him, which would have made Keane even more angry."
However, Keane's doubts over whether Kleberson was cut out for English football proved to be justified. The 32-time Brazil international, who won the FA Cup with United in 2004, managed just two goals in 30 appearances for the club before being offloaded to Turkish outfit Besiktas.
A nomadic career within the beautiful game saw Kleberson then depart Europe and head back to his homeland. Following spells with Flamengo, Atletico Paranaense and Bahia in Brazil, the 2002 World Cup winner move to the United States, where he went on to represent Philadelphia Union, Indy Eleven and Fort Lauderdale Strikers.
Having hun up his boots in 2016, these days, the United flop has returned to Philadelphia, where has embarked on a career in coaching. He first joined the club's academy but earlier this year moved into a role as assistant with Union's reserve team.
Though Kleberson will always be able to boast the fact he helped his nation lift football's greatest honour, that carried little weight when he found himself confronted by Keane. The Sky Sports pundit really has never been afraid to tell it how it is.
- Manchester United FC
- Premier League
- Roy Keane
- World Cup
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