MX23RW : Wednesday, May 27 21:51:53| >> :60:3593:3593:

Whatever happened to former Manchester United striker Angelo Henriquez?

Angelo Henriquez signed for Manchester United in 2012 before leaving without making an appearance, but whatever happened to the Chilean forward?

Despite the current boom in online quizzes around the world, it is unlikely that anyone has posed the question of 'Which player signed for Manchester United in 2012, never played a first-team game, and left English football within a year having won an FA Cup winners medal with another team?'

The answer, of course, is Angelo Henriquez, who departed Chilean football for Old Trafford shortly after turning 18 years of age. However, the wheels were put in motion five years earlier when United acquired the rights to sign him for €4m after a trial period.

There was every indication that it would prove to be an inspired piece of business. Before eventually making the permanent switch to England, Henriquez burst onto the scene with Universidad de Chile, scoring 15 goals from 27 appearances in all competitions.

Although the prospect would have naturally had high hopes of becoming an instant hit at United, that is not how things panned out. While the attacker was considered for first-team selection by Sir Alex Ferguson, he only represented the club at reserve level, netting once in five outings.

The decision was made to try to fast-track Henriquez's development and that involved a loan move to Wigan Athletic, who were struggling at the bottom end of the Premier League table. Fairytale-like, Henriquez, on his debut, netted within minutes after coming off the substitutes' bench against Sunderland.

Roberto Martinez remained unconvinced, however. Having failed to impress from the starting lineup against Bournemouth and Macclesfield Town in the FA Cup, Henriquez would play just 27 minutes of top-flight football during the rest of the campaign.

Angelo Henriquez representing Manchester United in a pre-season friendly in 2012.© Reuters

Nevertheless, Henriquez's season, and time in English football, ended in style. Having gotten on the pitch during the semi-final win over Millwall at Wembley Stadium, the striker was an unused substitute as Wigan pulled off the biggest triumph in their history with a last-gasp 1-0 victory against Manchester City in the FA Cup final.

Had Ferguson not retired from the dugout, Henriquez may have been given time to further adapt to English football, but the arrival of David Moyes led to the player being farmed out to Spain's second tier, where he scored just six goals from 25 games for Real Zaragoza.

By 2014, it seemed clear that Henriquez would struggle to ever play for Man United, but the following season marked a change in fortunes. Having been allowed to spend the year at Dinamo Zagreb, he became an instant hit, ending the campaign in second place in the goalscoring charts with 20 goals, a total which increased to 29 from 37 appearances in all competitions.

Naturally, Zagreb and United did everything necessary to push through a permanent deal. Henriquez never built on his remarkable 14-15 campaign, although he did end his stint in Croatia with 51 goals from 129 games.

During the closing days of 2017, Henriquez agreed to move closer to his roots, signing for Mexican side Atlas for €1.5m. Despite the transfer never working out, it put him on track to secure a reunion with Universidad de Chile.

Having scored just seven times from 27 games during his second spell and having lost his place in the Chile squad, it is fair to say that Henriquez has dropped off the radar to a certain degree. Nevertheless, having only turned 26 earlier this month, there is still time for his potential to be fulfilled.

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