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Anderson 'has no issues at United'
Manchester United midfielder Anderson has claimed the only clubs he would not regard as a step down from life with the Red Devils are Real Madrid and Barcelona.
The Brazilian started Monday night's FA Cup win over Reading just days after stories emerged claiming he had asked for a move three times, only for the requests to be rejected by manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
Anderson has denied those stories are accurate, but almost six years after a move from Porto that could have cost the Red Devils £18million, the 24-year-old realises he still has so much to prove. "The only places you could go to from here are Real Madrid and Barcelona," Anderson said.
Indeed, after collecting Premier League and Champions League winners' medals at the end of his first season with the Old Trafford club, it has been something of a slog for a player whose career has repeatedly been interrupted by injury.
It would be no surprise if Ferguson eventually decided Anderson was surplus to requirements, but the incentive for the player to prove his doubters wrong is clear.
Anderson added: "You can't have another choice because the level at Manchester United is so big. If you come here, you are definitely going to win titles. I have won the Premier League three times. I have won the Champions League once and lost two finals. I have always been there."
That does not tell the whole story. Anderson's contribution to the 2008 Champions League final triumph over Chelsea in Moscow was to take a nerveless penalty in the shootout after being introduced just a minute before the end of extra-time.
Twelve months later he was replaced at half-time as United struggled to contain Barcelona in Rome, whilst at Wembley two years ago Anderson remained on the bench throughout another Catalan masterclass.
Interspersed with this have been some pretty nasty injuries, mainly to his knees, that have led to extended periods on the sidelines and so much unfulfilled promise. Yet Anderson insists that at no point has he wanted to leave.
"It is true that every time I take two steps forward I seem to take three back," he said. "But it is not true (to say I have nearly left three times). Everyone knows I am happy at the club. I have had a lot of injuries but I have never let the smile go from my face. I try to help the team all the time. This is me. When I want to leave I will have to talk to the boss first but I don't have any issues."