Home » ARTICLES » Is There An End Product With Nani?

Is There An End Product With Nani?

published :

With pace, power, skill, stamina and two great feet; Luís Carlos Almeida da Cunha ticks all the boxes needed to succeed at the highest level in football.

However Nani, as he is known to you and I; not only flourishes with the talents that he possesses, but also invariably frustrates with them.

Manchester United’s #17 is now in his sixth season with the club and during that time he has won 10 trophies. Signed in July 2007 from Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon, Nani has always had a lot of expectation placed on his shoulders.

This has been largely because he has mirrored a career path to his international teammate, and captain, as well ex-Red Devils’ hero the one and only Cristiano Ronaldo.

As both can play in the same positions, and possess similar skill sets, it has always been a natural tendency to compare the both – a great example being that Nani was touted as the ‘new Cristiano Ronaldo’ upon his arrival in Manchester.

While I can see the comparison, this is unfair as ultimately they are both different players in their own right – with Ronaldo more as an inside forward and Nani as an out and out winger.

In his early years at the club, it was apparent that the Cape Verde born wide man had the potential to be an Old Trafford star – as he scored some wonderful goals in his debut season against Tottenham Hotspur, Middlesbrough, Arsenal and Liverpool.            

However for all of this, there were plenty examples of frustrating play by the Portuguese international, especially when it came to his final product, which was largely put down to his lack of maturity.

When Ronaldo left for Real Madrid in 2009, the following season was seen as the moment for Nani to step out of his shadow and become the player everyone expected him to become.

That 2009/10 season was indifferent for Nani as it was blighted by injuries, but when fit he was unplayable at times. His performance away to Arsenal is a fond memory of mine as he tore apart their defence, and in particular Gael Clichy, with his pace and trickery as Sir Alex Ferguson’s men won convincingly 3-1.

The following 2010/11 campaign was undoubtedly Nani’s best in the red of United to date, as he proved a vital cog in the Old Trafford outfit winning their 19th league title and becoming English football’s most successful club.

Nani contributed to 18 of United’s goals that season, either in assists or goals – a league high for the campaign, and his performances quite rightly earned him the accolade of Player of the Year by his teammates at their end of season awards ceremony.

Despite these performances though it was clear that he wasn’t always first choice – the fact that he started on the substitutes bench for the UEFA Champions League final against Barcelona proving so.

Ashley Young’s £17million move to the club last summer, also suggested added pressure on Nani’s shoulders. Yet despite this you would have thought otherwise as the then 25-year-old carried his form over into the next season – which earned him a nomination for the prestigious Ballon d’Or award in 2011.

His form at Euro 2012 this summer, where he played an important role in helping Portugal reach the semi-finals, also suggested at another productive season at Old Trafford for the winger.

However, that hasn’t been the case so far this campaign; where his performances have caused doubt on his future remaining on the red side of Manchester.

Nani’s most recent appearance for United was against Chelsea in October’s Capital One Cup 5-4 defeat. Despite scoring a goal of beauty, to put the visitors 3-2 ahead, it was his error in giving away possession for Chelsea’s last gasp equaliser that caught Ferguson’s anger.

After the match, the Red Devils boss said:

“We gave the ball away for the third goal having been in complete control of the match at that point. All we needed to do was see the game out with good possession.

“Nani is experienced but he’s a player who wants to beat men and I often discourage him from that. In that situation, if we’d kept the ball at the corner flag, the game’s over.”

It appears that Nani’s future at the club is unclear at the moment, with his contract currently running until 2014. It is well documented that terms of a new deal for the player are yet to be agreed, with reports that the midfielder wants £130,000 a week – something the club are unwilling to match. This summer saw strong interest in the Portuguese international, with Russian club Zenit St. Petersburg rumoured to have bid £25m for his services.

I believe that if Nani was to leave Manchester United it would be a loss to the club. His ability to cross the ball in dangerous areas, from either flank, gives the team an added dimension when he plays. Not forgetting his ability to produce a sublime moment of quality, with a trick or a goal, means he carries many a threat to any opposing team. 38 goals in 206 for club and 13 goals in 62 international appearances prove this.

In my opinion, Antonio Valencia is the number one winger at the Red Devils due to his sheer consistency. I would rate Nani as the second best wide man in the team, and when on form he is unplayable at times – with his ability to unlock a defence a joy to behold. Doing it on a consistent basis though proves his problem.

Nani is reaching his peak years as a footballer now, having recently turned 26, and it is about time he produces his dazzling best football more frequently.

Former Portugal international Paulo Sousa is one of many who have predicted big things for his compatriot. When discussing his future in the game, he once said:

“He’s very explosive, very strong and fast. In the next five years, Nani and Ronaldo will be the best players in the world.”

Ronaldo has lived up to his potential and become one of the best. Will Nani ever? Time to deliver if so.

By Luke Augustus @Luke_Augustus29

1 thought on “Is There An End Product With Nani?”

  1. For me Nani is a far better player on the right than on the left.

    However Tony V is far more complete a player than Nani. So he is at best no.2 right winger and recently Fatman is the new right winger while Tony is injured.

    For a team that prides itself on wingers there is little depth now. Ashley Young is not good enough for United, Nani is inconsistent at best and so we have little cover.

    Reserve wingers are far from the first team.

    Are we becoming a 4-3-3 team ? Did RvP ruin our historical plan ?

Comments are closed.