Anderson joined Grêmio as a youth player and in 2005 he made his first appearance for the team, playing 5 Brazilian Série B games at the second semestre of the year plus the 2005 Gaúcho State Championship at the first semestre.
He earned himself iconic status by scoring the goal that lifted Grêmio back into Serie A in a promotion playoff against Nautico. This goal was particularly memorable because Grêmio only had seven players on the pitch at the time and had just seen the opposition have a penalty saved. The goal gave Grêmio a 1-0 victory in the most unlikely of circumstances.
In April 2005, he played for Brazil in the South American U-17 Championship, and the following October he won the Adidas Golden Ball with his national team at the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Cup.
He joined FC Porto in December 2005 and made his league debut on 5 March 2006, playing a part in helping the team seal the Portuguese Championship that season.
In May 2007, Manchester United agreed, in principle, to sign Anderson from FC Porto for an undisclosed fee, reported to be approximately £17m.
Anderson made his international debut for the Brazil national football team on 27 June 2007 in their 2-0 loss in a Copa América encounter with Mexico, coming on as a substitute. He made his first start for Brazil on 1 July 2007 against Chile in a 3-0 victory.
Anderson signed a five-year contract and made his Manchester United debut on 3 August 2007. He was given the number 8 jersey for the 2007-08 season, the number worn by Wayne Rooney the season before.
Anderson has impressed the fans with his work rate and tracking back, along with his creative ability.