Football

Nani explains his role in Bruno Fernandes choosing Manchester United over Premier League rivals

Former Manchester United winger Nani says he played an important role in Bruno Fernandes ’ move to Old Trafford back in January 2020.

Former Manchester United winger Nani says he played an important role in Bruno Fernandes ’ move to Old Trafford back in January 2020.

Fernandes joined United on a five-and-a-half-year contract from Sporting Lisbon, with the club paying an initial fee of £47million for the playmaker.

He has been one of the team’s most consistent performers ever since, racking up 44 goals and 33 assists in 96 appearances for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ’s side.

The 27-year-old is one of the first names on the team sheet and has taken on a leadership role, both on and off the pitch at United.

His impact has been huge and his Portuguese compatriot and former Sporting team-mate Nani has a particular reason for being pleased with his progress with the club.

“I was the first one to tell him he should go to England and if he decides to go to England if he can choose Man United it would be the best thing for him,” he told The Athletic.

“That was funny because a couple of months later when I went to Orlando I saw the news and I texted him because I was seeing Man City and Man United and Tottenham were fighting for him and I said, ‘If you have to go, you choose Man United! It’s the best!’”

Nani will turn 35 on Wednesday but he is still playing in MLS with Orlando City, where he is the captain and has 10 goals and seven assists in 28 appearances this season.

The winger was at United from 2007 to 2015, helping to win the Champions League, four Premier League titles and two League Cups.

Although he is currently focused on the MLS play-offs with his current side, Nani still keeps up to date with his former team, with Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo maintaining a personal connection with the club.

“If I don’t have a game at the same time, of course,” he said when asked if he watches United matches.

“It’s special now with Cristiano there. Obviously, when you see the news and the situation of him at Juventus you could imagine that there was no better place for him to go than to go back.

“In my head, I knew he could go. I knew the news would be true so it wasn’t that much of a surprise to me.

“It’s always a motivation to see Man United and Old Trafford full of fans, the way the atmosphere is at that stadium is just incredible. It’s good to see and remember some good moments.”

Like Fernandes, Nani joined United from Sporting – and while he wasn’t as prolific in front of goal as his compatriot, he was similarly important to the side.

Playing on the wing in Sir Alex Ferguson’s side, he contributed 41 goals and 73 assists in 230 appearances before moving on to Fenerbahce in 2015.

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