Nani may get the nod against Celtic tonight. With the help of former United defender Arthur Albiston, we assess how dangerous he can be…
When Sir Alex Ferguson caught Europe on the hop and snared hot young prospects Nani and Anderson in May 2007, it was widely thought that the duo had been bought with one eye on the future.
The pair racked up nearly 40 appearances apiece in their first term at Old Trafford, however, as they took to life at their new club almost seamlessly.
Nani’s impact was a sudden one, as he hammered home his first United goal against Tottenham in late August, at a point when the Reds were desperate to get a first win on the board.
The Portuguese youngster’s brutal strike allowed his new side to do just that, thereby quickly endearing him to United fans the world over and making his Premier League adaptation infinitely easier.
“Usually players joining a club of United's stature need a bit of time to settle in,” says former Reds defender Arthur Albiston. “That’s especially so if they're foreign and even more so if they're as young as Nani. Anything we got out of him in the first season would be a bonus, and he quickly showed us his capabilities.
Home sweet home: Nani has scored six times for the Reds, all at Old Trafford and all in domestic competition. He’s not shy of finding the net against big sides, either: he’s scored goals to sink Arsenal and Liverpool.
Did You Know? In last season’s Champions League campaign, Nani was the only Red to play a part in all six group matches. He started five matches and came on as a substitute in Kyiv.
In his own words: “I don’t like comparisons, or that they say that Nani is going to be like Cristiano Ronaldo. I think I’ve got the ability to reach a very high level, but I want to be known as Nani, one of the best players in the world.”