When Nani arrived at Old Trafford from Sporting Lisbon in 2007 the comparisons with another player who had walked the same path before were inevitable. Nani looked as though he was a carbon copy of Cristiano Ronaldo, and the idea of them playing on either wing for United left man fans a little hot under the collar.
Seven years on, and while Ronaldo has gone on to become the best player in the world, Nani has just snuck out the back door to return to Portugal, albeit on a potentially temporary basis.
The excitement over the 27-year-old’s return to Sporting Lisbon might be met with some bemusement by United fans given how far his stock has fallen. Nani has become something of a joke figure, with the Old Trafford faithful deciding to laugh, rather than cry, at his recent performances.
There was a time when Nani looked like he might fill the boots of Ronaldo, picking up the Player’s Player of the Year award for his efforts during the 2010/11 season. However, too often Nani has flattered to deceive and his record in front of goal is not good enough given all the chances United tend to create.
Despite coming off the bench against Swansea, the writing has been on the wall for Nani for some time and Louis van Gaal was never likely to block his move to Sporting as part of the Marcos Rojo deal.
You might fancy using Unibet to back Sporting Lisbon to have a good season with Nani back in the squad, given he can underperform and still look good in a league lacking real quality.
Nani’s return to his homeland sees him finally consigned to the failed signings category, joining the likes of Bebe, Anderson, Diego Forlan and others who never quite made it at Old Trafford.
Given his potential it is something of a shock he ended up flopping. But while Ronaldo worked hard to realise his potential, Nani spent too long basking in the glory of his move to United, by which time it was too late to save himself.