Ex-Man Utd ace Anderson explains side to Ronaldo ‘people don’t know’

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Former Manchester United midfielder Anderson has opened up on his relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo and how the five-time Ballon d’Or winner has a side to him that “a lot of people don’t know”. The Brazilian midfielder moved to Old Trafford in 2007, spending two seasons with Ronaldo before the now-Al Nassr star joined Real Madrid for a world-record fee.

Following Anderson’s £30million move from Porto to United, he joined Ronaldo and Nani as the only three Portuguese speakers at the club and the trio quickly struck up a bond. All three players were represented by the same agent, Jorge Mendes, as Anderson revealed that they even lived together at Ronaldo’s home.

“The first year in Manchester we lived at Cristiano’s house,” Anderson told Spanish outlet Sport. “For us, Ronaldo was vital in our career. Both I and Nani shared an agent with him. For me, Cristiano is an idol. Unique, like [Lionel] Messi. They are from another planet. It’s hard trying to compare them. I was very close to Cristiano and I faced the other.”

Ronaldo’s dedication to his craft has been well-documented, as his mentality has been praised by pundits and former players across the world. Rio Ferdinand previously admitted to being perplexed upon arriving at Ronaldo’s house and seeing so many people he didn’t recognise, before the striker replied: “That’s my personal masseur, my nutritionist, my doctor, my physio, my chef”, at a time when it was uncommon for footballers to employ outside help.

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Despite Ronaldo’s perceived intensity on and off the pitch, Anderson explained that he also has a softer side and “has a very good heart” despite always thinking about the sport. “With Ronaldo, you are surprised at every moment,” Anderson added.

“He thinks 100 per cent about soccer. The game ends and he goes straight home to recover. Great professional and great friend. A lot of people don’t know it, but he helps a lot of people. He has a very good heart. He took us to training, he cared. In England he was very important to me.”

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After seven-and-a-half years at United, Anderson left to play in his homeland before a spell in Turkey and retiring. The 2008 Golden Boy award winner failed to live up to his initial potential despite winning four Premier League titles and lifting the Champions League, as he admitted that if he was able to copy the mindset of Ronaldo then he could have joined him at the top level of the sport.

“If I had had five per cent of the mentality of Cristiano Ronaldo, I could have been among the best in the world,” Anderson claimed. “I assume it now. He had talent, quality.

“With a little more head… I had a nice career because I won many things, but I could have gone much further. You have to be honest. With five per cent of Cristiano…he would still play at the first level now, easily.”

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