Nicolas Anelka, John Terry and Cristiano Ronaldo all missed their penalties, on the famous night in Moscow; three players with pedigree; three players who you would’ve favoured more than most to tuck their penalty past either Edwin van der Saar or Petr Cech.
Anderson, on the other hand, arguably struck the penalty of the night – the penultimate one for the Red Devils – despite the Brazilian playing just seconds of Extra Time, and, no doubt, highly tipped to be the one to fluff his lines in the Champions League Final; the biggest moment of his career, at just 20 years of age.
Anderson – who goes down as one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s worst ever signings – has given an amusingly honest interview about *that* night.
“I came on to take the penalty.
“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.
“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.
“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 speaking to Radio Grenal
Ryan Giggs’ role in the whole scenario is interesting, especially given the very recent comments from the Welshman over leaving Manchester United because he wanted the job.
Part of being a successful manager is good man-management; does Giggs push Anderson in front of the bus to try and avoid doing one himself? Admittedly Giggsy did score the winning penalty, but it was the seventh one; a man of Giggs’ experience and standing within the game, you would’ve thought the Welsh winger would’ve been ready to be leading from the front.
Or did Giggs give a nervous young buck making his way in the game, a confidence booster? Was he telling Anderson that he, Ryan Giggs of multiple Premier League titles and previous Champions League winner, had faith in him?
The fact Giggs still hasn’t got a job as a manager probably answers that one.