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Manchester United Cult Hero: Luis Nani, the proof that talent may not just be enoigh

There’s a number of Manchester United players through the years that never lived up expectations and one of them is indeed Luis Nani. The Portuguese who was targeted as the main man to take over the leading role at the time Cristiano Ronaldo headed to Madrid in 2009. Luis Nani signed for Manchester United in the summer of 2007 being marked as Ronaldo’s Benjamin. In the first months, he even lived with his compatriot, showing that he needed support and talent was something that he didn’t lack.

Luis Nani made himself a way in the team as he scored in his debut in pre – season and the very following game, showing us what he could do and what he should have expected from him in the future. However, despite being targeted in this way at first, Luis Nani never raised his stake, he just wanted to remain that player who’d come up in just a few games and make us dream that he was finally revealed that talent to the world of football.

This might be an unpopular opinion and it may be just me, but Luis Nani was technically gifted and actually even more talented than Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo, however, did something Nani never followed, working hard first. In every aspect of this life, there’s something people forget, it’s 1% talent and 99% hard work. That’s the one, Luis Nani forgot as well. His story it is similar to Macheda who thought that he could make right away, but no. That’s the point where both were wrong.

It is inevitable to speak about Ronaldo when we take on Nani. This only shows how much United fans wanted him to be a better player than Ronaldo and that’s why the disappointment they suffered was even bigger. There are definitely some good points we need to discuss; he would ruin a defender’s life while at times he was just a ghost in the pitch, more like a passenger.

I can’t deny that there have been some really great moments when he would make you forget everything he had done in the past. Probably you all guessed it, it is the FA Community Shield 2011 ahead of the new season that was more than a simple final. It was the Manchester derby and he decided to come up with his best in such event.

The Reds were down 2-0 in the first half and everyone wrote them off as no one expected them to do that marvelous comeback, considering the departures or the way United had fallen shortly until then. 2 goals from Nani changed everything. Chris Smalling at first closed the gap while just a few minutes later, Nani did it all well to equalize.

As the game was heading to penalties Nani had a special surprise for all of us. City had their chance to score from a corner kick which was cleared by Rooney, then what followed was crazy. Nobody expected him to follow the ball, nobody saw that coming in any instant. It was a mad thought to follow the ball and make it possible, to wind up both Clichy and especially Vincent Kompany to go and score past Joe Hart with that incredible run. In that moment, the world was his, that was one of his best or maybe the best moment in a United kit. Absolutely incredible play and what a way to win the game in ‘Fergie Time’.

Another great moment was that crucial penalty in the Moscow final that won United the Champions League trophy for the third time. Maybe we as fans should have had more faith in him, but Nani’s career at United was full of ups and downs, and especially strange. It took Sir Alex Ferguson a lot of time to make him a more mature player and play well, but he’d just drop again.

However, that Fergie departure was huge for him as well. He only managed to stay one year at the club, injured most of the time. The following year he was involved in the deal to sign Marcos Rojo from Sporting.

Indeed there are a lot of things to learn from him and especially from his mistakes. He took the easy road to go to success and never followed Ronaldo. If he had done so, maybe he would still have been at United and most importantly would have made us forget that we missed Ronaldo so much at the time.

Maybe that was the problem all along; we expected him to become Ronaldo 2.0 when in fact he needed to create his own identity. He fell for it and now is at Valencia, showing the same flaws as usual.

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