Stage set for rejuvenated Nani to delight in Turkey with Fenerbahce
After eight years at Old Trafford, Portugal international Nani has finally said his goodbyes to Manchester United, having sealed a £4.25m switch to Turkish side Fenerbahce, a club which could see the best out of this talented wideman.
Somersaulting his way into Turkey’s Super Lig on a three-year deal, a now 28-year-old Nani is sure to light up the country’s top division with his exciting attacking prowess, having recaptured his best form during a season-long loan spell at boyhood club Sporting Lisbon.
Arriving at Old Trafford in 2007 for a reported £17m, alongside Brazilian midfielder Anderson, the Lisbon youth product showed early promise in a dazzling debut campaign, most notably terrorising Arsenal’s defence in a 4-0 FA Cup thrashing on home soil (7/1 with Coral to win 2015/16 FA Cup).
That performance, which included two assists and a strike of his own, was eclipsed by the winger’s exuberant skills, which were met with several attempted crunching tackles from the Gunners’ annoyed defenders, as well as ‘showboating’ criticisms afterwards.
Nevertheless, Nani wasn’t fazed and stuck to his own playing style on the Old Trafford flanks, later starring again as United overcame bitter rivals Liverpool 3-0, rounding off his final goal with the trademark back-flip routine, which Fenerbahce fans will undoubtedly be seeing regularly next term.
Nani lifted both the Premier League and Champions League titles after his maiden campaign, but endured constant spells of inconsistency throughout his Red Devils stay.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure in 2009 saw Nani recognised as the natural wing successor, with his tricks and flicks reminiscent of his international teammate, and he managed to fill those massive boots at times, but obviously was unable to match the current Real Madrid hitman’s goal return.
Although, indifferent form saw Nani eventually depart the club on loan to his former employers Sporting, as part of a deal involving Marcos Rojo heading in the opposite direction, where he relished the chance of becoming the main man again.
The talented attacker racked up 11 in 34 outings across all competitions, including four Champions League strikes, showcasing his true attributes with the Lions, helping them win the Portuguese Cup, the same trophy he guided them to victory in during his final season in 2007.
Nani, not one to shy away from a challenge, initially outlined his ambitions of fighting for a place in Louis van Gaal’s side next season, but Fenerbahce came calling, and have made him the biggest earner in the Super Lig.
“I really am very happy to be here now. I see this as a new opportunity in my career. This is an opportunity for me to show myself. I want to be successful,” stated Nani on his arrival to Turkey.
“I’ve seen all these fans coming out for me and I was really happy. I want to show them my best football. I always do the best that I can.”
After picking up four Premier League medals (11/2 for 2015/16 title), along with a Champions League triumph and a FIFA Club World Cup coup, Nani will be joining some close international teammates at his new club.
“Fenerbahce are a club I have always known. Fener is a club that aims high. With the national team I play with Bruno Alves and Raul Meireles and it is very nice for me to come here and feel like I have family. I hope I can quickly fit in,” he continued.
Another familiar face could soon be joining the winger at the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium this summer, with seemingly out-of-favour United frontman Robin van Persie also tipped as a possibly arrival at the Yellow Canaries.
Capped 86 times for Portugal, the sixth most in his country’s history, Nani will also hope his new adventure in Turkey can propel him to further international success, as his nation aim to make an impact at next summer’s Euro 2016 in France (20/1 to win).
A wing wizard with bags of talent and potential, though his end product left many United fans frustrated during the majority of each of his seven seasons, Nani became somewhat of a maverick at Old Trafford, and later a scapegoat during David Moyes’ forgettable tenure.
In his new surroundings, Nani now has the perfect platform on which to enjoy the peak of his career, as he possibly prepares to reach previously untapped potential in Turkey and become the star attraction once again.