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Nani – A Manchester United Success Story, or not?

Has a player in United’s history ever split public opinion the way Nani does?

I guess Veron was in a similar boat to Nani and it’s only now, 10 years on, that Veron’s memory is one of ‘mis-use’ rather than use-less.

Does Diego Forlan fit into the category of ‘players who split opinion’? I’m not sure, although he’s another one who fans now seem willing to look back on and suggest he might have been mis-used rather than simply a bad buy.

Peter Davenport used to split opinion, so too Ralphy Milne. Gary Birtles didn’t split opinion he was simply considered useless by 100% of anyone and everyone who watched him play for United, in his case United just wasn’t the right club for him.

Players come and go, some fit in where others don’t, that doesn’t make them a bad player it just means it wasn’t right for them. I mean, look at Torres to Liverpool. We all thought he was destined for Old Trafford and when he moved to Liverpool and Mourinho said “he won’t suit the Premier League”, we all prayed he wouldn’t, but….it didn’t take long for [surely?] most of us to stand back and think about what could’ve been. Torres at Liverpool was a match made in heaven and thankfully for us they managed to fluff-their-lines when the chance of a first Premier League title presented itself in 2008/09 with Torres the main reason behind their season of relative success.

Nani joined United in 2007 but, despite being voted Players Player of the Year 2010/11, has never really convinced the Old Trafford faithful or management that he’ll fulfil his obvious talent, many suggest the weight of carrying ‘The Next Ronaldo’ tag around with him has hindered his progress. I personally believe the inability to shrug of his own belief that he’s potentially the next player better than Ronaldo is more likely to have affected his development.

Yes Nani can, on his day, be brilliant, but on others (most others) he’s nothing short of infuriating.

However, known to have coined a few phrases in his 25yr tenure, Sir Alex coined a phrase with Nani that’s now often heard when describing a player who’s suddenly shown sudden improvement. “the penny looks like it’s finally dropped”, said Sir Alex when asked about Nani’s performance at the start 0f season 2010. Well maybe it had, but that still didn’t lead to him getting the simple stuff right and becoming less of a frustration to all concerned, he just masked his deficiencies with goals and assists. That’s all well and good I hear you say, goals and assists win games, of course they do, but when they dry up and behavioural issues begin to arise, the cracks begin to reappear and questions will inevitably resume.

His fans (of which I am definitely not one of them) will point to his assists during 2010/11 and his magnificent goals throughout his United career, but his detractors will quickly counter with his otherwise poor pass completion stats (game after game)…..or at least they would’ve done up until last week. Now they have far more serious concerns. (more about that in a moment)

Let’s put Nani’s United career into perspective, and what better way than to make a few comparisons.

Ronaldo: Spent 6yrs at United making 292 (245 starts + 47 subs) appearances for the club, scoring 118 goals at a rate of 0.40 p/match. He was eventually sold for a record breaking £80M.

Nani: Spent 6yrs (and counting) at the club making 201 (and counting) (160 starts + 41 subs) appearances scoring 38 goals at a rate of 0.19 p/match.  Nani, it is rumoured, could leave the club this January for a potential £15M (less than we paid for his potential).

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that Nani isn’t even in the same league as Ronaldo, he simply hasn’t got the tools Ronaldo has or the attitude.

The latest rumour doing the rounds is that Davide Petrucci has more damage than initially suspected after a training ground bust up with Nani in which Nani took it upon himself to attack Petrucci not once, but twice at the clubs Carrington headquarters during the same training session.

Surely that’s called time on his United career with Juventus waiting in the wings and the player himself disillusioned at a club where his goals p/match ratio ironically matches that of the afore mentioned, brunt of all fans jokes, Gary Birtles! (look it up if you don’t believe me)

What do you think? Should Sir Alex and the club stick by him and work with him some more or is he fresh out of chances and it’s time to cash in (or out – depending on which way you’re looking at it) on him? Is United the right club for Nani or was it just too much for him?

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  1. ellioman

    13 October 2012 at 15:48

    In the comparison part, I found it weird that you included only goals.
    Add assists and Nani should look a lot better although Ronaldo will of course win the battle between those two.

  2. Craig Mc

    13 October 2012 at 15:52

    Is he fresh out of chances – WTF? Nani has been abused so much by MUTV pundits, who have said things, esp Paddy Crerand, and Lou Macari who if I was Nani I would have punched them on the nose by now, because they never leave him alone. You can all say well we know Craig that you will support Nani regardless, but I don’t care what you think, because I know what I am saying is true! Ashley (shite) young makes so many misplaced passes into the box, and he rarely gets by the last man to get the ball across when he plays on the left, yet does he get ripped by Paddy, Lou and uncle tom cobley and all – does he fook, when he should! Nani has had it with OT, and the fans whom he loved, I knew that immediately when he scored his last goal, and just picked up the ball, and ran with his head down straight back to the centre spot. Like he was saying “take that all you fookers!” Normally he always ran to the fans and celebrated because he loved United fans, even though many of you don’t love him. Do I think he should move on, yes I do and for his own sanity and encouragement the sooner the better. United fans can be total bastards sometimes, and this is one of them. I am glad he didn’t go to Russia, though SAF wanted to push him out there is accounts are to be believed, I mean who the hell would want to go to Russia. Nani made it plain he wanted Italy or Spain, and there were offers from both countries, but United wanted more money which Russia would give. I think Nani should stay until end of season, and get to go on a pittance fee, then he can pick his club of choice and do his own deal. Sorry but I am pissed with all that rot being siad about Nani. Okay rant over lads, and I still love you all 😆 😀

    • Ian

      13 October 2012 at 16:46

      @Craig Mc: That celebration btw was due to the fact that ALL his team ‘mates’ were seriously pissed off with what happened the day or so prior to the game when he assaulted Petrucci in front of most of them. Believe me, he’s an unpopular figure nowadays. If you notice, that celebration only ONE other player (iI think it’s Rio) comes to pat him on the back (might be Carrick, memory’s not great!).

    • Pavi

      15 October 2012 at 08:36

      @Craig Mc:
      Wasn’t that last goal against tottenham when we were down 2-0? So you expected Nani to go to the fans after the goal and celebrate instead of picking the ball up and restart the game as quickly as possible.

  3. Craig Mc

    13 October 2012 at 15:58

    Ian – get ready to hide my Nani post after a while ok mate, because the thumbs down brigade will be out in force. How ya doing anyway Ian – you and your family doing ok then?

    • Ian

      13 October 2012 at 16:43

      @Craig Mc: All’s well mate thanks 🙂 None of them are surprised you’ve had a rant in protest over this post tho 🙂

      • Craig Mc

        13 October 2012 at 18:21

        @Ian: 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 – well they wouldn’t would they Ian. I am nothing if I am not loyal. If Nani whacked Petrucci I would like to know what Petrucci did or said to Nani, maybe he said something I would have whacked Petrucci for if he had said it to me 😀 Some of those academy lads have some mouths on them, and cause trouble like those who leave because they don’t get what they want, was never like that at one time – little brats!

        • Ian

          13 October 2012 at 18:22

          If I told you Petrucci literally did nothing, was literally in the wrong place at the wrong time….would you believe me?

        • Craig Mc

          13 October 2012 at 19:24

          @Ian: Nah I wouldn’t believe you Ian mi man, but then you know me so well, you know that Petrucci did something. If not then say what you know, but it better be an honest source, because all the Nani haters – well hard to believe anything they say isn’t it 😉 😉 😆 😆 😆

        • Ian

          13 October 2012 at 21:47

          Let’s just say…..Nani was fouled by one of the more respected players who you can’t really take revenge on. The next person to have the ball was Petrucci…..then it all kicked off.

          So he really was in the wrong place at the wrong time, then it escalated and continued of the training pitch and indoors where Petrucci got injured/assaulted!

          Nani hasn’t been seen for a few days too.

        • Craig Mc

          13 October 2012 at 19:20

          @Craig Mc: By the way Ian, you seen anything of this James ?Mason, the lad who scored 5 goals at N’Castle, and 2 goals yesterday. From all reviews seems like he is an instinctive goalscorer and as such will have some career in front of him in the future. So what do you know about the lad mate? I hope we get Strootman for our senior squad, I like dutch players, and I love Strootman! He is Roy Keane type player.

  4. Moscow

    13 October 2012 at 16:43

    If Nani isn’t a success story, then what are Welbeck and Chicharito who have 1 goal between themselves this season for United even though they are strikers? Anderson can be our Moussa Dembele but oh Nani isn’t in the same league as Ronaldo who has 160 goals in 155 appearances so he’s not United quality eh?

    Let’s focus on the area of our team which IS shit, and that’s our midfield. someone ask why the fuck Scholes was dragged out of retirement when Fergie was chirping about how he was happy with the midfield just a couple of months earlier.

    Nani is one of the few world class players that we have, yes he might not be your consistent old school ‘cross after cross’ winger but he is a top class creator and scorer of goals, comparable to David Silva. It is laughable to suggest that he should be sold unless someone of equal quality is brought in because Valencia and Young have never and will never hit the same heights as him. Rant over.

    • Ian

      13 October 2012 at 17:12

      JH isn’t a success and should follow Nani imo but for totally different reasons. Neither of those players have had the time or chances Nani’s had. Poor comparison’s really.

      • Moscow

        13 October 2012 at 17:33

        @Ian: Welbeck had 40 appearances last season as our main man up front and scored 12 goals. He’s had 9 appearances this season scoring 0 goals and 0 assists (I mention this because apparently it’s not all about the goals with him LOL), whereas Nani has made 6 appearances, but at least he managed a goal and an assist. Hernandez has 1 goal in 7 this season and scored 12 goals in 36 games last season, his only contribution is meant to be goals. Don’t think Anderson even warrants a mention, but he was signed together with Nani and who is the more successful? Maybe you should ask their respective international coaches.

        • Ian

          13 October 2012 at 17:54

          Anderson’s been bummed up and down for the majority of his time at United while Nani has been coaxed and massaged in the position he wants to play (imo).

          People say ‘he’s got no freedom’….correct, because every player needs to be disciplined, once he shows he can be disciplined he might get some freedom, unfortunately he’s a loose cannon with the ball and a waste of space without it (although he’s improved a lot, I’m not saying he hasn’t).

          Key is, for me, comparing him to anyone is daft really, except Ronaldo. Nani tried to model himself on Ronaldo and he’s failed spectacularly, now it’s time to walk the walk he can’t/isn’t. Yes he’s done more than the players mentioned but their time is in front of them, Nani’s is behind him (at United).

          You can’t behave the way he has and get away with it.

          One thing I will say in his defence tho (and it’s in defence of every player there really) – there’s too much of players having to fit into a style of play recently at United rather than creating formations/lineups/tactics to suits the skills and abilities of the players available. That still doesn’t excuse Nani more than others, it just doesn’t.

        • Moscow

          13 October 2012 at 23:05

          @Ian: So Nani hasn’t been bummed about, I remember he was put in Fergie’s doghouse in 2009 and about to be sold to Fiorentina before he produced that match winning performance at the Emirates and then provided some crucial goals and assists. He then went on to produce 9 goals and 18 assists the following season, along with Berba he stopped us from crumbling when Rooney decided we weren’t ambitious enough and went to Dubai. He started every game for Portugal and they were knocked out on penalties by eventual winners Spain in last summer’s Euros. Funny how he does well with a competent midfield and astute tactics eh?

          In the meantime, Anderson was enjoying orgies and having car crashes, in the rare moments when he wasn’t injured. And you’re saying Fergie has bubble wrapped Nani when Anderson still plies his trade with us and wears a No 8 shirt more deserving of the best midfielders on the planet? You have got to be kidding me Ian.

          Tell me, if Real Madrid came calling, who would they be more likely to sign from Nani, Anderson, Welbeck and Hernandez?

        • Opti

          14 October 2012 at 00:35

          @Moscow: Hernandez, b/c of commercial appeal. 😛

        • Ian

          14 October 2012 at 15:58

          Welbeck, for his finishing.

        • AndyCR7

          15 October 2012 at 07:38

          @Moscow: You should ask if we would be able to sign Nani (or any player as good as him) in today’s market. Answer is NO.

        • Stephen

          15 October 2012 at 13:33

          @AndyCR7: Andy, we signed RvP who is certainly better than Nani and Kagawa who is probably better than Nani this Summer..

    • Opti

      13 October 2012 at 21:01

      @Moscow: I think Chicharito has been a success. He came for cheap from obscurity (rel. speaking) and stormed through a fantastic season: great world cup, 20 goals with United, title #19, goals in Champions league semi-final, champions league final appearance.

      Nani’s first season was decent. Scored a penalty in UCL final against chelsea. Won multiple titles. He still provides numerable goals + assists every season, consistently. Ashley Young cannot tie his shoelaces. Only Valencia should be considered a better player because he is top class EVERY game (at home, at least) and is less selfish. However, recall how we felt about Vally after his awful miss against Blackburn 2-3 years ago.

      Finally: what has Welbeck done to attain such glamour at United? Welbeck has been around for a LOONG time. Started games at 17. Loaned out for two seasons: Championship and Premier League. Did admirably (6 goals in 26 games), but has yet to move into a higher gear. Then he decided to haggle over a contract by utilizing his “England Potential”.

      “Welbeck is an England player. Welbeck scores against San Marino…” — so what? Andy Carroll is an England striker. Everyone scores against San Marino.

      Show me one period during which Welbeck has lit up games. He is nothing but a side-kick and can easily be replaced. He has achieved short of nothing with United, despite his eternal promise of potential. Besides the emotional attachment of Welbeck to United, I cannot see what he brings to our club.

  5. Aragron

    13 October 2012 at 18:11

    Nani is playing shit, for one simple reason, it’s down to tactics, the formations Fergie is playing is made to fit around Kagawa, Persie, and Rooney,we lost the league of GD last season, so Fergie thinks we need to score more, when in fact he should have shored up the midfield, and defence, we scored enough in 2011-12, the problem was we let too many in, instead of getting rid of Nani, we should be looking at getting shot of Carrick, & Anderson and getting in someone like Strootman who can hold a midfield.
    Keep Nani, sell Carrick and Anderson get s decent midfielder and a world class CB, Evans and Smalling are far from it
    Rant over
    Join me on please …LOL 😉 😐

    • Ian

      13 October 2012 at 18:18

      Hold on, I got to the end of the first sentence and immediately thought….Kagawa and RvP have been here 2 minutes, Nani’s been here 6yrs, how is it the fault of tactics towards theose 2 that Nani has run out of chances?

      Then, further….to my horror! Smalling isn’t up to it! Wash your mouth out!

      • Aragron

        13 October 2012 at 20:02

        @Ian: Because the game is 11 a side, if Ferguson plays Kagawa, Persie and Rooney, then players have to give way, there must be something serious going on when Nani is on the bench and Welbeck or Kagawa is playing left wing !

        (Link exchange yes, join the board and PM me your Link, I need an image)

    • Ian

      13 October 2012 at 18:20

      BTW….link exchange?

  6. colver

    14 October 2012 at 22:27

    Well this season its hard for him to play well when he hardly gets to play.

    The seasons where he has had a good run of games he’d done pretty good.

    Maybe he does not turn it on for 90 minutes. But he is a very productive player. And as our central midfielders don’t score goals or provide assists there is a huge onus on our wingers to create chances for our strikers. So Nani does his job.

    The Ronaldo comparisons are unfair. Ronaldo was a very special player that covered up a lot of deficiencies elsewhere in the team.

    Nani would be best in a possession team where he got a lot of the ball and was given a lot more freedom.

    In a team like ours that plays pinball in midfield and has been very committed to the idea of wide players who run up and down the flank, it isn’t gettting the best out of Nani.

  7. Redrich

    15 October 2012 at 00:42

    Ian, I’d say that Berbatov was another one that has split popular opinion here, and has a closer link with Nani than with anyone else IMO.
    Not because Ferguson has made lepers out of them, but simply because these are two players that have chosen to make their own successes more important to that of the team. Nani is clearly a hot-dog type of player with cute moves and flashy footwork that could hold sway in other leagues, but has apparently fallen flat on the physical nature of the PL.

    It’s time to reel in the excuses for Nani’s performances and begin to wonder if Nani is the wrong shape for this team. An emerging team of youngsters that are trying to find an identity, are not helped by a drama queen with selfish motivations.

    I voted “ship him out” without much thought at all!!

    • Opti

      15 October 2012 at 02:56

      @Redrich: “[Nani has] apparently fallen flat on the physical nature of the PL”
      — ummm… OK. He’s been here 6 years and has consistent goals/assists season-to-season. He can handle himself far better against physical teams than Ashley Young, who has been considered a “good” winger in the last 10 years.

      • Redrich

        15 October 2012 at 17:41

        @Opti: OK Young is also struggling on this team. But aren’t we talking about Nani??
        Nani’s trickery and flash is not fooling any PL team now, and so his usefulness to United is, and has been lessened even more so by his inability to perform basis duties well (passing, crossing etc.)

        It’s time for him to make a new start elsewhere and for us to move on with other options.

        • Stephen

          15 October 2012 at 19:44

          @Redrich: As I have said, Nani seems to do nothing wrong in some peoples eyes. His form this season has been appalling, he is 26 next month an he still lacks maturity. He has all the talent in the World and it is up to him if he wants to harness it. He needs to forget about wanting to be the next Ronaldo, he needs to be the first Nani. I hope he stays and reaches his potential, but he is more likely to skulk off and chase the cheap ruble in Russia.
          Ashley Young had an awful Euros, but he has something and works hard, he hasn’t the ability of Nani but he has a better brain and attitude. It is pathetic just to attack a player simply because he rivals another, lets hope they both have a good season, I feel though one of the players has already made his mind up and will be off, for the money.

        • Redrich

          15 October 2012 at 21:36

          @Stephen: And beyond all that, he doesn’t seem to fit in at all, does he?
          He’s not a team player and constantly sets a poor example with displays of play acting and selfish play.
          I wish I could say that he’ll settle in and buckle down to a more grounded type of play, but after all these years it’s time to believe that that will never be possible.

        • Stephen

          15 October 2012 at 19:57

          @Redrich: He struggled with injuries last season, but still netted 8 times and had some very good games. He scored 6 goals and 9 assists in the Premier league, in 24 games. Nani scored 8 with 10 assists in 29 games,yes he is clearly a better player… 😐

  8. godzilla

    15 October 2012 at 04:59

    Nani > Young

    • AndyCR7

      15 October 2012 at 07:39

      @godzilla: Jarvis, Ben Arfa, Adam Johnson are all > Young 😛

  9. jos

    15 October 2012 at 06:59

    The new Queresma (or whatever his name was)

    At one point of time the big Q was thought of as more talented than Ronaldo! Heres a player who succumbed to his own hype. Q’s is a story of what could have been rather than what was.

    Nani is in serious danger of falling in same category. Time for him to pack his bags and leave if it is not happening here. But I’m wondering where will he go? Which “big” side would be magnanimous enough to play him in first XI. At Braca he can at best make the bench. Same at Real. These two dont need him. Rest of the teams in Spain are not worth going to as these two clean all the honors so unless Nani wants to win nothing in his life he shouldnt go to Spain. Now lets see at Italy. Would he make first team at Juve – you must be kidding (on his present form). Probably he can go to AC Milan but they dont play with wingers so he wont start there! Inter is the only team I can think of. But are they better than United? hahaha. What about Germany – Bayern wont touch him, they got better players. Go to any other team there – seriously! France – which team? Portugal? Are they really step up from the PL?

    My counsel to Nani would be to bend down, take this little break he has been affored to think hard about his own deficiencies (they arent many but he is simply not in Ronaldo class that he misbelieves himself to be), think about his strengths (plenty of them and thats the good news) and start playing to his strengths. He has been plain awful this season and there is no reason why he should be assumed as a starter after those displayes (esp since he is a “senior” player and not Welbeck). He has to stop this war with the team and the manager – he cannot win that. Frustration is not gonna help him. I think every player goes thru this time. Its how they come back that determines their mettle. Nani has to show his.

    • Moscow

      15 October 2012 at 14:57

      @jos: “Over the last 5 years, the question is always the same… It’s always about Cristiano Ronaldo. Everyone tells me I have to be more like him, and they ask me if we practice the same things or if I think I can do the same things he does by now. Every time I do something good here in Manchester United, I get asked the same thing and when I have a bad day, they simply don’t say anything. It’s tiring to always be compared with Ronaldo, whenever I do something good for the club. But that’s OK, it won’t change the way I am.”

      Nani, September 2011

      • jos

        15 October 2012 at 20:05

        @Moscow: I dont understand why should it affect a professional player if he is compared to ronaldo after a good game. Whats this bit about playing bad? why should he be playing bad?

        players get compared to other greats all the time till they attain greatness themselves. dont see anything wrong in that. its a very stupid comment from nani and if it is what affects his game then it shows how much of a brain he has.

  10. Stephen

    15 October 2012 at 15:45

    Nani is a very good player, he has the brain of an ant. His decision making is still in question, but he has a lot of quality. I also feel for Young, he is now the Red Rants whipping boy, simply becuase he rivals Nani.
    Nani like Anderson get away with murder, I see Cleverley, Jones and Young getting a lot of stick, but Anderson has been played out of position er, for 5 years and Nani never put a foot wrong. I like Nani a lot and certainly don’t want to see him leave, but he has had a poor start to the season and that is nobodys fault but his own. Anderson has one Ok game and he is the second coming of Bryan Robson.

    • Moscow

      15 October 2012 at 16:35

      @Stephen: I can agree with this, Nani can be very frustrating and makes a lot of stupid decisions. Good job he’s not a midfielder and can afford to be unpredictable. Unlike a certain Anderson 🙄

      • Stephen

        15 October 2012 at 16:57

        @Moscow: Don’t forget about his potential…. 😀

        • Opti

          15 October 2012 at 17:34

          @Stephen: I didn’t know we were talking about Welbeck now 😆 😆

        • Stephen

          15 October 2012 at 17:35

          @Opti: 😆 😆 Welbeck has potential in the Championship!

    • RMJ

      16 October 2012 at 14:13

      @Stephen: I agree and no one here will question that about Nani, but his struggles this season especially in the opening matches have been a long time coming since how our midfield is setup. Nani excels when he combines with others and its not all about goals that are his strengths. The Ronaldo comparison drives him to shoot for me(and miss horribly) and that has also been limiting him. I doubt the way things are going, he will stay another year despite him wanting to stay and that’s a pity since he is probably one amongst the most talented members of our squad.

  11. chibuike maxwell ransom

    31 January 2014 at 08:28

    If players are to leave old´traford it must not be nani&henandez.

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