Former Manchester United midfielder Anderson has given an interview to Radio Grenal, in which he recalled his entire career as a footballer. The player told his story since his early years at Grêmio, when he was a poor boy, until the move to his current club Coritiba.
As always, the most interesting parts were about his time at Manchester United. He said Carlos Queiroz and the ‘Manchester United president’ (who was probably David Gill) went to Porto to ask he if wanted to join, and after a positive response, promised they would buy him.
Then Anderson was asked about the Champions League final, when he spent the entire game on the bench and was only called on seconds before the end of extra time.
“I came on to take the penalty,” he said. “I hadn’t touched the ball. I was sitting on the bench, Giggs looked and said like this: ‘Get Anderson to take one’. I said ‘Oh my’. I was 18 at the time.”
Then the radio presenter asked if Anderson would have turned it down if he thought he could.
“What? I would run away! The history of the club in my hands! I would not take it! I’m joking. I went. How couldn’t I? I didn’t touch the ball. I got there, Ferguson saying ‘come, come, come’. He put me in, the game finished and I said ‘Oh my God’.
“I took the ball, it was the longest walk of my life. Even when I came from Azenha to Grêmio, it was the longest walk I ever saw. I came with the ball, there is no way I wouldn’t be shaking. I was already shaking. I was terrified. The story of a club, and our fans were on that side.
“I went to the ball, I got the ball, I looked at that goalkeeper, who is a giant. Cech opened his arms, I said ‘oh, I’m f***ed’. I’ll kick it hard, close my eyes and pray for the ball to go in… then I took three, four steps, I closed my eyes and the ball passed just by his hand.”
Anderson was also asked if he didn’t take it as he trained: “No. Because he was too big. I trained with van der Sar. Van der Sar has two metres. Van der Sar used to wait until the last second, he would only do it like this. I thought, if I do it, he’ll save it. I’ll have to put my foot through it.
“So I put my foot through it, the ball went in, I went there, I kicked again, the ball went in again. Just to be sure!”
Anderson spent a few more years at Manchester United, had a loan at Fiorentina, and left the club in 2015 to join Brazilian side Internacional.
He was asked if Inter paid something to take him from Manchester United, and he revealed he actually could have spent more time receiving a higher salary in Manchester.
“Zero. They didn’t pay anything. Inter paid zero. I had one year [of contract left]. I could’ve gone to Monaco, actually, on loan. I said no, I’m going straight there. To be paid less. Manchester didn’t want me to break it, they wanted my contract to expire, cause I had one more year. Much higher [the salary], much higher. I used to earn very well.”