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Name Nani
Gender Male
Ethnic Portuguese
Job Portuguese Footballer
Desc Emerged from the shadow of Cristiano Ronaldo to become a crucial part of the Alex Ferguson’s side and can look back proudly on his five Premier League titles. When he was on his game he was one of the most naturally-gifted players in the league

Affiliation

Org Portugal National Team
Club as Player Valencia FC
  Manchester United

2015 12 29 Retrieve

[on Sir Alex Ferguson] Working with Sir Alex is something I’ll never forget. He’s the best I’ve worked with. I learnt so much from him on the training ground. Even today, talking about him is inspirational and a motivation. I’m so happy to be part of his story. He is someone I’ll remember all my life

2015 12 30 Retrieve

[on Sir Alex Ferguson] I think there is no one in the world who can be compared with Alex Ferguson. [. . .] We worked for six years together, but even one year is enough to understand how good a person and manager Ferguson is. You can easily notice how big a role he is playing in the world of football. When I was playing for Manchester United, I could see that Ferguson was everything for the club. Sometimes the team were not doing well, but with a single word he managed to change everything and won the match

2016 08 20 Retrieve

[Valencia’s Portuguese winger Nanion his five-year contract at Manchester United that he signed in September 2013, under then-manager David Moyes, in an interview] It could have been the best moment of my life but it turned into the worst. After you sign a contract like that, you think all the people will be behind you and help you. And you see the opposite. Then the stress comes. I was down and, when it’s like that, of course, the injuries come too. It was a bad moment. It was something that made me very down, very disappointed

2018 05 17 Retrieve

[From Euros star to colossal flop - what next for Renato Sanches?] Renato would have been a great signing for Man United, I have no doubts. But he had a choice, and the choice he made was Bayern Munich. I hope that he has made a good choice and that he is happy in his career but I think United will now know what a big player they have missed

2020 03 07 Retrieve

[Portugal winger Nani speaks about his hopes to return to the national team] You cannot just say that you are playing in the USA and that league is no good compared to others. No, it’s not like that. You have one of the best leagues in the Premier League, Spain, probably Italy, and then after that, MLS is not too far from others. You can compete with those other leagues. For sure, it’s a possibility, if I do well and I’m at my best, there’s a chance to come back to the national team, so I hope so!

2020 05 17 Retrieve

[Nani has admitted that he was initially scared of Sir Alex Ferguson] I was playing unbelievable with a lot of confidence. We won a penalty and it was Ryan Giggs who took the penalties but I felt confident and Giggs didn’t say anything. So, I took the penalty but I missed. The penalty would have made it 3-1 and, in the dressing room afterwards, [Ferguson] killed me. He said, ‘Nani, who do you think you are? Who gave you permission to take the penalty?! Ryan?!’. And then he killed Ryan Giggs, because he said, ‘Ryan, why did you let him take the penalty!’ Ryan said, ‘He grabbed the ball and I let him’. Oh my god, that day was incredible!

[To make matters worse, Nani had to share a care with the irate Ferguson after the game] I drove him back home and he didn’t talk to me. I felt very uncomfortable!

At the beginning, I was very scared of him. Like a father, when you make a mistake or do something wrong, you know?. I would see him talking with other players and I wanted to be involved but I was thinking, ‘What am I going to say? I didn’t know. So, I was scared of him until I learned to understand the language better and was able to express myself. My English has never been perfect, and is never going to be, but, at that time, it was worse than now and when we he found I could speak more with him, he started coming to me and giving me more attention. From then on, I learned more about Sir Alex Ferguson.

Giggs, (Paul) Scholes and Rio Ferdinand were always pushing me and saying things to me. I didn’t understand what they were doing. I thought they didn’t like me. They would just go mad at me all the time but that was because but they saw a lot of potential in me in training and actually believed in me. After two years or three years, I started to realise that, so I tried to do what they were saying to me

2020 05 18 Retrieve

[Nani lifts lid on life with ex-Man Utd star] Cristiano Ronaldo was very competitive. When you’re staying in his house for a day, it means he challenges you at any time. He had a swimming pool, a tennis court and ping-pong table. Sometimes, it’s just competing to see who knows who’s telling the truth, or who is right about something. Every time, there was a discussion to see who was right or who was better. The only time we were not playing was the night time, we’d sit on the sofa talking and Cristiano would just disappear [to bed]. We’d learn because me and Ando would be very tired when we woke up. He’d already been up two hours earlier, checking the news and would say: ‘Okay, let’s go’. He was the only one who had a car then, in the beginning, so we had to be ready to go with him. Fantastic moments and great memories we have

I’d not let it affect me as my focus was not on there but, after, when I had more responsibility in Manchester, when Cristiano left, at the beginning it was a little bit difficult. There were a lot of comparisons and it looks like you need to prove yourself every time, to do the same or as good as him, when you are a different player. When you arrive, people in the stadium, all the fans, they love you because they saw something different in you. They like that difference but, after they create something in their minds that he needs to be the other Ronaldo, or the new Cristiano. For those moments it was a little bit difficult but, very fast, I learned how to protect myself and distract myself from that. I had great moments in Manchester. I enjoyed so much my football there. I had some injuries in the middle and several moments that didn’t allow me to perform consistently for as long as I wanted. But I’m still very happy for everything I did in that club, all the fantastic players I played with, the coaches, all the staff I met in that great club

2020 05 19 Retrieve

[Ronaldo’s Man Utd to Real Madrid hints revealed by Nani as exit was planned months in advance] We would stay at the end of training to do competitions and they [Anderson & Ronaldo] were my team-mates, everyone has best friends or some they feel more comfortable with and they were my support. Some days he [Ronaldo] was telling us openly ‘I’m here six or seven years now, I think it’s enough for me’, he said that a couple of times. But it was always ‘I will see, I will see, I will see’ but we never thought it [Real Madrid move] would happen so fast. After we won the league in the second year he left, he produced a great season so we were still surprised

When he [Ferguson] wanted to leave I felt like I wanted to leave too. I was there so many years and now it’s a new coach and I think it’s time for me to challenge myself in a different team. Then I had a big injury, I recovered and went to the World Cup and the season after I was ready in my mind to leave the club. That’s it

I’ll tell you the truth. It will never be the same after leaving Manchester United to play for another club. It’s not the same. As a club, as a structure, the quality: everyone knows that. I’m not offending anybody. Everyone knows that: that’s why Man Utd is Man Utd, all over the world. It was great to come back to Sporting because I came back home, close to my family and my friends. It was good to breathe a little bit, to recover and get some energy back and motivation, to find a new challenge. To tell the truth, it was a great season for Sporting for me that year. I played very well and in the Champions League I scored a couple of goals. I enjoyed the football a lot in that time

2020 05 20 Retrieve

[Nani: I didn’t understand Man Utd players – I thought they didn’t like me] It was so important for me to have Giggs, Scholes, Rio Ferdinand, because they were there every time, pushing me and saying things to me. I was not understanding what they were doing. I thought they didn’t like me. They would just, every time, go mad at me because things didn’t go well but they saw a lot of potential in me in training and were believing a lot in me. After two or three years, I started realising a lot. It’s one thing to listen but you try to do what they say

Like I said, we fought, we disagreed on the field but it was the strongest team I’ve been in. We knew the times to play together, to respect each other. When we had to enjoy it together as well. We used to do celebrations because we never had a day off, our boss was a very hard person. At Christmas or someone’s birthday, or Manchester United Foundation galas, they were our opportunities to be together, drink a beer and sing. I remember a great moment at a Christmas party where I remember Scholes singing, drinking his beer. Then I had to sing as well and improvise something. I think sometimes I can rap a little bit and Rio was pushing me a lot to do that. I was doing it in English, so imagine that. My English is horrible! They were laughing a lot, so it was a great moment

2020 05 23 Retrieve

[Nani on Ronaldo] Cristiano was very competitive. When you’re staying in his house for a day, it means he challenges you at any time. He had a swimming pool, a tennis court and ping-pong table. Sometimes, it’s just competing to see who knows who’s telling the truth, or who is right about something. Every time, there was a discussion to see who was right or who was better

The only time we were not playing was the night time, we’d sit on the sofa talking and Cristiano would just disappear [to bed]. We’d learn because me and Ando would be very tired when we woke up. He’d already been up two hours earlier, checking the news and would say, ‘Ok, let’s go’. He was the only one who had a car then, in the beginning, so we had to be ready to go with him. Fantastic moments and great memories we have

2020 06 17 Retrieve

[Nani says Ronaldo told him he will probably end up in America] A couple of years ago, he told me that he will probably end up in America. It’s not 100 per cent, but probably. There is a chance

[Nani was looking forward to his second season in the division, after completing his first year in Orlando] It is a great league. Obviously there are points where we must improve as a league, even in the quality of the players. Here you have fantastic clubs, well organised with fantastic conditions, great coaches, great players. You see every season improving. I think we all have the conditions in this league. We are in a great country. Everything is around us. It is all about being better, not being afraid to improve

[In the past, though, he has suggested he wants to finish at the top. In 2015, he said] In my mind I want to finish in the top level, I want to finish with dignity so in a good club. It doesn’t mean that to go USA or Qatar or Dubai is not good but I don’t see myself [going there]

2020 07 09 Retrieve

[MLS is Back Tournament: Players raise fists and take a knee in racial justice protest] It’s a beautiful gesture from everyone. We all know we want to change the world, we want a better world, in which people look to each other without any difference, with no discrimination for colour or nationality and I think the decision at the beginning of the game and the performance from everyone was beautiful. It’s emotional for those there and I felt it for a couple of moments and I started thinking that everyone in the world should stop for a minute and start thinking about their attitudes and to see what we all can do to make a difference in the world. We must think about our children and the future for them, to teach them to behave, to be a better person and to create a better world.