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He was dubbed to become the next Cristiano Ronaldo at Old Trafford but history shows that the closest Luis Nani ever got to become a Manchester United legend, was a handful of spectacular goals.
There was never any doubt that Nani had talent – which is why Sir Alex Ferguson paid big money to get him from Sporting Lisbon to Manchester back in 2007. Some may suggest the pressure and comparisons to Ronaldo got the better of him, others question his hunger.
In his interviews with English press he always said the right things. His words were those of ambition and desire, though his delivery did not fool anyone. He never came across as one to truly believe in himself.
Whether that was down to not quite settling in right or just being a shy person in front of the cameras is hard to tell, but something was not right.
Highs and lows at United
Nani’s highs were few and far between but when he was really on fire he was unplayable. His main cause of trouble was his inconsistency. Apart from a few decent spells in early 2010 and during the 2010/11 and 2011/12 seasons, he was mostly frustrating the home fans at Old Trafford with his poor displays.
By the time Ferguson put together what turned out to be his last title winning team, Nani was only playing a secondary role starting seven Premier League matches. Eyebrows were unsurprisingly raised when David Moyes, Fergie’s successor, then chose to offer him a new 5-year-deal with a solid pay rise the following season.
Despite the new contract and trust shown in him by Moyes, injuries and poor performances denied him more than seven starts and four substitute appearances in 2013/14, too.
As Louis van Gaal arrived in Manchester, Nani was destined to move on. Sporting Lisbon was the natural choice, and United even paid most of his wages during the season-long loan.
Fenerbahce to the rescue
Fenerbahce then came to Nani’s rescue. He was never going to play under van Gaal anyway and the Old Trafford hierarchy wanted to get rid of him so badly they let him go on the cheap, only recovering about £4 million from the about £17 million they paid eight years ago.
However the move could not come at a better time for Nani, and Fenerbahce seems a logical and right move for him. Although the Turkish crowds can be intimidating, he seems to have the fans on his side from the get-go.
He will play regular football in a less competitive league. Perhaps, he can now live up to some of the potential we all know he had when he arrived in Manchester in eight years ago.
Written by Lars H. Thomesen
Follow Lars on Twitter @LarsHT
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