Rafael da Silva reckons his former Manchester United teammate Anderson could have been “the best in the world” were it not for his love of fast food.
Anderson, currently the assistant manager of Turkish side Adana Demirspor, was once regarded as one of the most promising teenagers on the planet, joining United from Porto for €30m in 2007.
The Brazilian, though, failed to live up to the hype, making only 118 starts in seven-and-a-half years at the club before joining Internacional.
He would win four Premier League titles and the Champions League during his time at Old Trafford but was unable to consistently contribute to the side, and Rafael, who now plays for Istanbul Basaksehir, claims his eating habits would often hold him back.
“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 said in his autobiography (via the Mirror).
“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.
“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 was 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 won promotion to the Super Lig with Adana Demirspor last season and will face the likes of Besiktas, Fenerbahce and Galatasaray in the upcoming campaign.