Now 43, the New York City FC assistant boss was one of the stars of the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea as he helped Brazil win the trophy for the fifth time. It led to significant interest from around Europe, including Spanish giants Barcelona.
Kleberson, however, didn't leave Atlético Paranaense in his homeland until the summer of 2003, joining Manchester United in a deal worth £6.5million. He had other options to consider before deciding to sign with the English giants.
"My agent at the time came to me and told me about Celtic and Leeds,” he told OLBG. “For Leeds, the president at Atlético Paranaense told me about Leeds but I'd already agreed with United two months before. For Celtic, I remember reading a story about how they wanted to sign me but there was nothing on paper and I didn’t hear anything from Atlético Paranaense. I don't know if it was true or not but when I was training, I remember my agent saying there was an opportunity to join Celtic, a club in Scotland. But the bigger interest was Leeds and Man United.”
Kleberson would go on to play just 30 times in two seasons for United before joining Turkish side Besiktas and then returning to Brazil with Flamengo and Atlético Paranaense. He would finish his career playing in the US where he is now part of Nick Cushing’s coaching staff at New York City FC in MLS.