The Brazilian believes that his fellow countryman’s struggles to stick to a healthy diet prevented him from fulfilling his potential
Anderson could have been the world’s best player if he didn’t eat so much and love McDonald’s, according to his former Manchester United team-mate Rafael.
United paid £28 million ($39m) to sign Anderson from Porto in the summer of 2007, and he went on to form part of one of the most successful squads in the club’s history.
The Brazilian picked up nine trophies during his time at Old Trafford, but was never able to hold down a regular spot in the starting XI, with Rafael now revealing that he struggled to stick to a healthy diet amid persistent struggles with injury.
What’s been said?
In an extract from his joint autobiography with twin brother Fabio – The Sunshine Kids – published by The Mirror, Rafael wrote: “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.’
“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.
“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’s United career
Anderson, who retired from professional football last year following a stint in Turkey with Adana Demirspor, featured in 181 games for United between 2007 and 2015, recording seven goals and 21 assists along the way.
The ex-Brazil international won four Premier League titles, one Champions League, one League Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup under Sir Alex Ferguson, but quickly fell down the squad pecking order following the Scot’s departure in 2013.
Anderson was unable to secure regular minutes under both David Moyes and Louis van Gaal, and after a brief loan spell at Fiorentina, he joined Internacional on a free transfer in January 2015.