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|Birthday||April 13, 1988|
Manchester United pulled off a transfer that surprised the football world by signing highly rated teenage attacking midfielder Anderson from Porto in July 2007, but the Brazilian has failed to live up to his potential and billing as “the next Paul Scholes” in his first few years at Old Trafford.
Anderson was born in Porto Alegre and began his career at Gremio, where he came through the youth team. He only made five appearances for his hometown club before he was snapped up Portugese club Porto, making his debut for them in March 2006 and helping them secure their domestic title that season. His 2006-07 season, which began with him impressing in a pre-season match against United, was hampered by a broken leg but he managed to appear in 15 games, scoring two goals, and again picking up a league-winners’ medal.
He joined United in a deal believed to be around £17 million in July 2007 and, soon after, starred for his country at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup, winning the Golden Ball award for player of the tournament. His full debut came for his country in the Copa America of 2007, when he came on as sub against Mexico and he made his United debut in a 1-0 victory over Sunderland in September 2007. He quickly endeared himself to his new club’s with a lion-hearted display against Liverpool and Steven Gerrard at Anfield in 2007 as Manchester United sealed a vital 1-0 win en route to retaining the league title.
As an important squad player for United as they took the Premier League – European Cup double, he scored in the Champions League final penalty shootout and also hit the winner in the 2009 Carling Cup final shootout. Two years after arriving at Old Trafford he finally got his first goal for United in a 3-1 victory at Spurs in September 2009.
A cruciate injury against West Ham in February 2010 ruled him out for the remainder of the season and he suffered more misery when he was involved in a car crash in July, reportedly being dragged from a burning vehicle in Portugal. Despite doubts about whether he would even be included in United’s 25-man squad because of injury, he began to show glimpses of his previous form in the first few months of the 2010-11 season. He still has much to prove to become a regular first-team fixture again but he was handed a new four-and-a-half year contract in December 2010.
Strengths: The Brazilian’s breathless box-to-box approach makes him difficult to play against. The speed at which he is able to launch attacking moves makes him an impressive force breaking from the midfield.
Weaknesses: Does not score anywhere near enough goals and can be wasteful in possession.
Career high: Winning the Golden Ball award for player of the tournament at the 2007 Under-17 World Cup.
Career low: Watching on from the bench for the majority of last season, with his misery compounded by a cruciate ligament injury.
Style: Athletic, confident, tough-tackling; Anderson has the ability to break up play and launch counter attacks at pace.
Quotes: “I’d like to see him score more goals, but he’s got lots of attractive qualities and the energy to get box-to-box. One of his best qualities is that he’s not daunted by anything.” Bryan Robson hails Anderson’s ability to perform under pressure.
Trivia: Anderson’s home city of Porto Alegre was also the birthplace of Ronaldinho; both players rose up through the youth team of local club Gremio.