Anderson was a favourite of Sir Alex Ferguson, with him affording him special treatment compared to many other players, but the feeling was mutual.
Speaking to Andy Mitten for ESPN, Anderson has reflected on his start to life at United and his opinion of Ferguson.
I love him too. He’s the god of football. I played through injuries for him, stayed on the pitch when my legs were cut. I didn’t care. When I was injured, I wanted to come back as soon as possible, but he’d try and stop me. He looked after players so well. I felt that he cared for me. He helped me settle, he gave me new contracts. I can’t thank that man enough for what he did for me. He trusted me in big games when I was 18.
When I arrived in Manchester he didn’t always pick me at the start. I didn’t like that because I’d played every game in Porto. I started to be crazy and I told my agent I wanted to leave, but everything changed after I came on for Scholes in a game against Wigan. I played unbelievable in a position that wasn’t my own. I preferred to play more advanced so that I could take players on or give a nice pass. Or behind the striker. Fergie put me in the Carrick position that day. I didn’t let him down.
I started to play every game. Fergie would always pick me against Arsenal because I always did well against them. Park Ji-Sung always played against Arsenal too. Ji always killed Arsenal. Ronny always did. Three passes and we were away and attacking. Goal.
Our mentality against Arsenal was “let’s kill Arsenal.” We beat them 8-2 at home. I don’t think I saw one of our players make a mistake that day. After we’d scored six, I started to take the piss with the ball. The manager had to take me off!
Anderson’s United career essentially ended when Ferguson retired. He played in just eight games the following season before being sent out on loan. He returned to United for the following season, with his shirt number having been given to Juan Mata when he was away, and played in the fateful 4-0 away defeat against MK Dons. That was penultimate game for United and he signed for Internacional a few months later.
The Brazilian has talked about his reaction to Ferguson’s announcement that he was leaving the club.
My heart was broken. All our hearts were broken. I knew in that moment that Manchester were going to have some problems. Patrice Evra said to me: “United is not going to be the same anymore.” I hugged Ferguson and said thank you. Then I said: “Please boss, stay a little more.” “Ando, I have to leave,” he said.
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