He came as a great talent but Anderson never really realized his potential at Manchester United. Much to the frustration of his coaches.
They are always there, these talents who, for a variety of reasons, have never been able to fully exploit their talents. They include Brazilian Anderson, signed by Manchester United in 2007 for over €30m from Porto.
Looking at his trophy cabinet, one might think that the 33-year-old has had a successful career. Four-time Premier League champions, 2008 Champions League winners, club world champions and a Copa America triumph speak for themselves, but more often than not Anderson has been a supporting actor.
According to his former United team-mate Rafael, the main reason was Anderson’s lack of discipline. He went to parties too often, and he wasn’t very professional when it came to nutrition either. “When we were driving the team bus down the freeway and passed a rest stop, Anderson would jump up and yell, ‘McDonald’s, McDonald’s.'” Rafael went even further in an autobiography, claiming that Anderson “is the best thing in the world could have if he had behaved like a professional soccer player”.
Manchester United: Anderson caused frustration in the coaching team
Legendary coach Sir Alex Ferguson also despaired of Anderson over time. Mick Clegg, who was also part of the coaching team at the time, revealed that The Athletic. “I had a stick with me and I said to Ferguson in Anderson’s early days, ‘If he keeps this up, I’ll hit him with my stick.'” Ferguson was initially shocked by Clegg’s language. “It cost a lot of money. You can’t beat any of my players, are you crazy?” Ferguson is said to have replied. Next.
“Six weeks later, Ferguson came to me and said, ‘Where’s the friggin’ stick? Give it to me, I want to hit it,'” Clegg said. Of course there was no beating, at least nothing has been reported about it to date, but Ferguson’s statements clearly reflect his desperation.
Why was Anderson allowed to wear the Red Devils jersey for more than seven years? On the one hand, of course, this was due to the hope of those responsible to be able to exploit Anderson’s potential after all. On the other hand, the Brazilian was very popular internally. “There wasn’t a nicer person, everyone loved him,” Clegg explained. “His problem was simply that he was lazy.”
Anderson, who has now retired, was supposed to play 181 times for United, but two serious knee injuries meant he was out of United in 2014. The central midfielder initially returned to his native Brazil. When he became without a club in 2018, he signed on again in Turkey with Demirspor. The “celebration beast” no longer made sporting headlines and left the football stage through the back door at the end of 2019.