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 there that the then 19-year-old made his first-team breakthrough, during the 2012 Brazilian domestic campaign. Throughout his first season in senior football he 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 now Juventus winger Douglas Costa and Shakhtar captain Taison already present, Fred’s transition was made significantly easier. He impressed in his first season, scoring twice in 23 appearances as they won the Ukrainian Premier League, the first of three domestic titles to go with the three Ukrainian cups Fred won in his five seasons there.
In June 2018, Shakhtar agreed a reported fee of around £52m to sell him to English giants Manchester United. Fred, 26, was then away with Brazil’s World Cup squad, but he received special permission to leave in order to complete his move. He has won 11 caps in his international career, but will hope the increased profile he should enjoy at Old Trafford will help him force his way into Brazil’s future plans, if after an inconsistent first season in Manchester he can become crucial to their new-look midfield.