Manchester United’s Brazilian midfielder Anderson was pulled unconscious from the burning wreckage of his car after a horror crash in Portugal on Saturday morning.
The 22-year-old spent several hours in hospital after the accident on a rural road in Braga, with witnesses reporting how he needed to be dragged “lifeless” from the vehicle shortly before it exploded.
Anderson, along with his two passengers in the £125,000 Audi R8, was discharged from hospital later that day having been treated for concussion, whiplash and shock.
The £18million purchase from Porto three years ago has been injured since February, after rupturing his cruciate ligament in his left knee, and this further incident calls into question his place in the 25-man United squad, who are 2/1 to win the Premier League.
Anderson, increasingly becoming renowned for his partying lifestyle, had reportedly spent the night at a club before the crash, which occurred at 7am. With the player supposed to be recovering, such a scenario is bound to concern boss Sir Alex Ferguson.
The crash has echoes of Jimmy Davis’ death in 2003, when the United player fell asleep at the wheel of his car while driving at high speeds on a motorway.
And in January last year Cristiano Ronaldo ploughed his Ferrari into the side of a tunnel on the way to Manchester airport.
On the football field, the Red Devils (6/1 to win the Champions League) are in pre-season action again on Wednesday as they face an Irish League XI in Dublin.
Wayne Rooney is expected to make his first appearance since playing in England’s disastrous World Cup defeat to Germany. After banging in 26 goals last term, he is 1/2 to score most Premier League goals for United this season.
Javier Hernandez, who scored against United while playing a half for his old side Chivas in his new club’s last friendly, Michael Carrick, Nemanja Vidic and Ji-sung Park are also in the squad, while Antonio Valencia is also expected to return after an ankle injury.
What will be Fergsuon’s reaction to Anderson’s close encounter? He already mentioned the midfielder by name when stating picking a 25 would be difficult. United are 2/9 to beat Newcastle on the opening day.