Affectionally known “Fat Anderson” was one of the typical overachieving Manchester United players who excelled under the magician Sir Alex Ferguson and has since divebombed.
The former fan favourite Anderson spent a remarkable eight years at the club – yes eight, winning four Premier League titles, two domestic cups and a Champions League in the process. A breath-taking haul for someone who was, by any reputable United fans admission, commendably average.
Indeed, everything was average about this player other than his price tag and size – which both were in excess for a player of his stature at the time.
It cost a breath-taking £26 million to bring the midfielder over from Porto in 2007 as the touted replacement of midfield legend Paul Scholes, but was there any semblance of the great man in Anderson’s game?
No – of course not.
The Brazilian rarely showed signs of actual quality when he stepped onto the pitch, and represented, at least in our eyes, the second coming of Eric Djemba Djemba – notorious United flop.
When you spend time looking at the numbers, which we conveniently have, they make for very poor reading.
Taking into account Anderson’s mammoth transfer fee and wages, spread between 126 starts and 53 substitute appearances, over the course seven years, meant the club spent around an eye-watering £5.5 million per goal – he scored nine in total (via Daily Mail).
But did this soil his reputation at Manchester United? No it did not.
This is a man who stepped up in Moscow and smashed home one of the penalties; who would work so hard within the space of ten minutes of a substitute appearance that he was physically broken – admittedly due to poor fitness; who lived and breathed United, and occupies a sentimental place in fans hearts alongside the likes of Park Ji-Sung, Darren Fletcher, John O’Shea, Wes Brown and co.
The very man who had the audacity to mock Steven Gerrard for his lack of trophies: “I won everything at the club. I won four Premier Leagues,” he told ESPN Brasil. “A player like Gerrard, who like, played for Liverpool, a player who has history in world football, didn’t win one. And I achieve four playing for the club.”
Unfortunately, Anderson would not enjoy the same sort of freedom under David Moyes and Louis van Gaal (look where that got them) as he did under his former employer, and he was eventually shipped on to play for Internacional in 2015.
And at just 30-years-of-age, which is barely believable given how much time he has been around, he has settled playing for Adana Demirspor at a level probably most reflective of his ability – the Turkish second tier.
A legend in his own right, and adored for all the best reasons.
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