The United winger will be a key figure again for his country when they take on Czech Republic in the first Euro 2012 quarter-final on Thursday evening.
Bento was a coach during Nani's younger days at Sporting Lisbon, before the move to Old Trafford, and the 25-year-old has paid tribute to the former Real Oviedo midfielder in an interview carried in the English press.
"He’s one of the main reasons I am where I am because he opened doors and my eyes and made me see what I was doing was wrong many times," explained Nani. "He made me realise that if I wanted to be here, as I am today, then I needed to change certain things.
"He believed in me and that’s what I remember. Paulo told me lots of things in private and when he became first-team coach at Sporting he gave me the opportunity to play."
Nani was quoted in The Sun and the Daily Mail.