Anderson's love of McDonald's at Man Utd stopped him from becoming the best

Martin Macdonald
Anderson at Man Utd

Former Manchester United midfielder Anderson could have been the best player in the world if it wasn't for his bad diet and love of McDonald's, according to team-mate Rafael.

Anderson was recognised as one of the most talented young players in the world before Sir Alex Ferguson sanctioned the purchase of him from Porto for a reported fee of around £29 million.

Though he had undisputed talent and moments of quality, fitness and injury issues meant he was unable to make a spot in central midfield his own.

He was successful in his period with Man Utd, but there is still a sense of 'what could have been?'.

Rafael, writing in his autobiography along with twin brother Fabio, insists Anderson's love of fast food held him back in his career.

“We could be on the team coach and pass the services on the motorway and Anderson would jump up impulsively and yell 'McDonald's, McDonald's,'" he wrote in The Sunshine Kids.

The guy was crazy, but I love him. Give him a football and he would just play with freedom and sometimes, if he got a good run of games, he could play as well as any player in the league.

“Not only that, but when he was playing well, we were playing brilliant football. He picked up a lot of big injuries and then his problems with eating the way he did started to affect him.

Anderson would jump up impulsively and yell 'McDonald's, McDonald's
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“It was no coincidence that his best form came when he had a lot of games because that was when he couldn't eat so much. I will say something about Anderson – if he had been a professional football player, he could have been the best in the world.

“I'm saying this with all seriousness. I don't know if he ever took anything seriously. He just loved life in such an easy and casual way.

“In some ways that was a quality. It was what made him so popular and one of the most popular players at the club.

But he would just eat whatever was put in front of him.”

Anderson at Man Utd

Anderson was signed in the same summer as Nani and both were viewed as vital transfers for the club for the future.

Though he did have constant fitness issues, Anderson earned quite the trophy haul at Man Utd, winning four Premier League titles, one Champions League, one League Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup.

Anderson, Rafael and Fabio da Silva

Anderson, Rafael and Fabio da Silva

While at times he was a trusted member of the squad under Ferguson, as time passed his fitness problems became more of an issue.

David Moyes and Louis van Gaal used him sparingly, while he joined Fiorentina on loan for the second half of the 2013/14 season.

Anderson eventually left on a free transfer to Internacional in February of 2015.

By the age of 31, he announced his retirement.