'I couldn't adapt my play style' – Kleberson reveals reason for failed Man Utd move

The former Brazil international arrived with high hopes a year after leading them to the 2002 World Cup only to be sold after just 20 appearances

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Former Manchester United midfielder Kleberson has admitted that he struggled to adapt his play style to the Premier League after arriving at Old Trafford.

The Brazilian joined the Red Devils in a deal worth £6 million in August 2003 and arrived with a great deal of pedigree having won the 2002 World Cup with his country, but failed to make an impact in England.

He was shipped off to Besiktas two years later after making just 20 appearances for the club, and he has now revealed why he never hit the heights of his international performances.

“When the team isn’t doing well, it’s hard to change your style, I couldn’t do it,” he told us-bookies.com.

“When I came to Man Utd I tried to change the player I was, more passes, more aggression, more tackles, but it’s too hard and wasn’t what my game was about. 

“From 17 to 24 years old, I was playing that fluent Brazilian style, to move the ball quickly and receive it in space.

“At Man Utd, I had tough moments a lot of the time, I got a lot of injuries and struggled a lot.

“It was a difficult time, and when you see a lot of evaluation from your performance at top teams the criticism can be very high, particularly at Man Utd.”

The 40-year-old went on to say that the style of play in the modern Premier League would have suited his game more, adding: “The Premier League now is so much more possession-based.

“You see teams try to unbalance the other team with creative play, diagonal passes and passes between the lines.” 

The midfielder’s international career faded away after failing to make an impact at Old Trafford, as he made just one appearance for Brazil during his second season with the club and would not appear again until 2009.

After leaving Besiktas in 2007, Kleberson spent six years in his home country with Flamengo, Atletico Paranaense and Bahia.

He most recently appeared as a player for new defunct American side Fort Lauderdale Strikers, and is currently coach of MLS club Philadelphia Union’s academy, a role he has held since 2017.

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