Fred – full name Frederico Rodrigues de Paula Santos – represented various youth clubs in his native Brazil, before eventually progressing through the ranks of Internacional in Porto Alegre. It was here that the then 19-year-old made his first-team breakthrough, during the 2012 domestic Brazilian campaign. During his first season in senior football, Fred made more than 30 appearances.
In the opening months of the 2013 Série A season, the young Brazilian agreed a €15m move to Ukraine, specifically to join a Shakhtar Donetsk squad featuring a number of his countrymen. With the likes of now Juventus winger Douglas Costa and current Shakhtar captain Taison already at the club, Fred’s transition was no doubt made significantly easier. He still impressed in his first season, however, scoring twice in 23 appearances as Shakhtar won the Ukrainian Premier League – the first of three domestic titles, to go with three Ukrainian cups, Fred won in his five seasons at the club.
In June 2018, Shakhtar agreed a reported fee of around £52m to sell the now 25-year-old to English giants Manchester United. Fred was at the time away with Brazil’s World Cup squad, but received special permission to leave the camp in order to complete his move – and subsequently played no part in any of Brazil’s games in Russia anyway. He has won only eights caps in an international career spanning four years, but will hope the increased profile he should enjoy at Old Trafford will help him force his way into Brazil’s future plans.