Luck on Anderson's side

By his own admission, the 22-year-old was “very lucky” to emerge unhurt following a horrific car crash in Portugal late in July and wants to make the most of it.

Anderson has more reason than most to look forward to the 2010/11 season. By his own admission, the 22-year-old was “very lucky” to emerge unhurt following a horrific car crash in Portugal late in July. The Manchester United midfielder had to be pulled out of the wreckage of his Audi 8 sports car shortly before it burst into flames after hitting a wall.

“I am very lucky because the accident was serious,” he says. “It was a very big scare for me.” Unfortunately for the Brazilian, this represents the latest in a series of setbacks in 2010. He reportedly went missing back in January when he jetted back to his native land and is believed to have incurred the wrath of Sir Alex Ferguson, who is likely to be as frustrated by Anderson's recent exploits.

A proposed move to Lyon was mooted in the media shortly after Anderson hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons at the turn of the year, but that never came to fruition and he returned to Old Trafford hoping to breathe new life into his United career.

However, the youngster ruptured his cruciate knee ligament in February and has been sidelined since. A return to action is now expected some time in September, with United fans keen to see Anderson prove his worth in the Premier League.

He formally arrived in England from Porto for a fee believed to be in the region of 18m pounds in July 2007. Anderson was something of an unknown quantity in European football at that time and had only just recovered from six months on the sidelines with a broken foot. Anderson claimed back-to-back Portuguese Liga titles with Porto during his two years with the club after starting out at Gremio in Brazil. It is with United, though, that Anderson has really come to prominence, making 99 senior appearances in his three seasons with the club and winning a cluster of silverware.

He enjoyed a dream debut campaign as the Red Devils claimed an EPL and Uefa Champions League double. The European Cup success over Chelsea in Moscow was particularly memorable for Anderson, who scored a crucial penalty as the 2008 final was settled on spot-kicks. That coolness from 12 yards came in handy in February 2009 as again Anderson slotted home in a penalty shootout as United beat Tottenham in the League Cup final.

Another EPL title followed three months later and Anderson impressed without ever stealing the limelight from his more illustrious team-mates. He finally scored his first goal for the club against Tottenham in September, but a string of inconsistent performances saw him in and out of the starting XI before his fortunes dipped further at the start of the year.

With the end of Anderson's gruelling rehabilitation from his knee injury in sight, you sense that there is plenty more hard work ahead for the Brazil international to win over the doubters.

As a high-profile footballer, Anderson is unlikely to be short of female admirers, although he has so far kept his private life out of the spotlight. A white Audi 8 — which is thought to be worth as much as 100,000 pounds — was Anderson's pride and joy before it was consigned to the scrap heap after crashing into a wall.

Factfile Position: Midfielder Club: Manchester United D.O.B: 13/04/1988 Brazil Caps: 8 Brazil Goals: 0 Brazil Debut: v Mexico 2007

Moment to remember: Scoring the winning penalty against Spurs in the 2009 League Cup final will take some beating as far as Anderson is concerned, although United's 2008 European Cup triumph over Chelsea was another special moment.

Moment to forget: His last appearance for United — a 3-0 win over West Ham back in February — saw Anderson sustain a nasty knee injury that forced him to miss the World Cup in South Africa.

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