Born in Rome, Macheda began his football career with local side Lazio, although did not sign a professional contract with the club and was snapped up by Manchester United in September 2007. Starting at United's academy, he jumped straight into the Under-18s and finished as the side's top scorer in his first season with the club.
In February 2008, he made his debut for the reserves and continued to impress with his power, strength and finishing ability, and he signed his first professional contract with the club in August 2008. Making the leap up to the first team with aplomb, big things were expected of the striker but he has struggled to kick on in his development since his debut.
Loan spells at Sampdoria and QPR have failed to yield any goals or professional progress, with the former ending in relegation and the latter more memorable for him being fined for posting a homophobic tweet than any performances on the pitch.
Strengths: Excellent at shielding and holding up the ball, he also has a very strong positional sense, especially in the penalty area.
Weaknesses: His attitude has been questioned with suggestions that his abundant self-belief verges on arrogance, while he can appear lazy at times on the pitch.
Career high: Scoring a dream winner on his United debut against Aston Villa on a day he described as "the best of my life".
Career low: Relegation with Sampdoria while on loan at the club in 2010-11. Macheda arrived in January with Samp eighth in Serie A but he contributed zero goals in 14 league games as they fell out of the Italian top-flight.
Style: A goal poacher whose anticipation often sees him in the right place at the right time.
Quotes: "He's a natural goalscorer, a finisher in one-on-one situations. He's a big strong lad for his age. Nothing seems to faze him. He's a confident lad - not cocky or arrogant, just confident in his own ability." Team-mate Darren Fletcher lauds Macheda's abilities, July 2010.
Trivia: Macheda and his family refer to United's Italy scout David Williams as "grandfather" because of the role he played in helping secure the player's move from Lazio and relocation to Manchester.