Former Manchester United winger Nani has talked about living with Cristiano Ronaldo, a former teammate of the play for both United and Portugal and the fact the winger was striving for perfection, seemingly finding it before he left the Old Trafford club and continuing it at Real Madrid and now Juventus, along with playing for his country.
Ronaldo signed for United in the summer of 2003, replacing David Beckham at the club, who left for Real Madrid that summer. Nani arrived in the summer of 2007 – both players leaving Sporting Clube de Portugal for the Old Trafford club. Nani played with his compatriot at United for two years before Ronaldo left the club.
Ronaldo had settled in, spending four years at United before Nani arrived and was living in a luxury house. Instead of being placed in a hotel until they had found permanent accommodation, Nani and another new face at United, Anderson were both offered the chance to live with Ronaldo, a chance they took up – the rest being history.
The new summer signings for United may have thought that their new residence was a place to relax and get ready for the days ahead, however, Ronaldo’s competitive streak came through with regular table tennis, swimming and tennis contests between the trio, which might have been good for fitness but not if they wanted to win. Speaking to the Players’ Tribune, Nani said:
“Not many mentioned Manchester United. But my agent, Jorge Mendes, wrote down the names of all the clubs and said, ‘For me, the best team you can choose is this one’. He pointed at Manchester United.
“I spoke with Sir Alex [Ferguson]. He wants to build you up the same way he built up Cristiano [Ronaldo]’. Before I knew it, I was looking for a house in Manchester.
“At the start I was supposed to move into a hotel, but Jorge asked me ‘Would you mind staying with Cristiano?’ So I moved in with him and Anderson, who had just arrived at Manchester United.
“Cristiano had a swimming pool, a ping-pong table, a tennis court — and every day we would compete at something. By the time Anderson and I left that house, we had become allergic to defeat.
“Sir Alex was like a father to me. Guys like Rio Ferdinand and Ryan Giggs gave me so much good advice. I became friends with Antonio Valencia, Fabio and Rafael [da Silva], Cristiano, Anderson and many others.”
It would seem that it was a good experience for Nani and something that Ferguson would have approved of, especially if the competitions between the trio left all of them hungry to win, which is something that United, at the time, wanted too, reaching two consecutive UEFA Champions League finals (2007/08 and 2008/09) before Ronaldo left the club, another after (2010/11); winning one of the three finals (2007/08).