Stadium ruled Nani out for five weeks in total as the title race took shape. He returned and was part of the team that performed so disappointingly at the Etihad Stadium against Manchester City but looked in fine fettle during Euro 2012 as Portugal unluckily lost out in the semi-finals.
It is true that it wasn't until Nani's countryman left for pastures new that the Reds' no.17 really began to fulfil his potential and step out of Ronaldo's shadow. The 2009/10 campaign, the season after Cristiano joined Real Madrid, was meant to be the moment Nani came to the fore. But his sporadic involvement, partly due to injury, in the
first half of the season led many outside the club to speculate about his future at Old Trafford.
Nevertheless, Nani returned to action in January 2010 and put together a string of hugely impressive displays - and chipped in with some vital goals - to win over fans and pundit alike and partly reward the faith Sir Alex had shown in him. The United boss highlighted an increased maturity in the wide man and his blossoming personality. Having not long turned 23, it seemed fair to suggest that the inconsistency that at times frustrated fans earlier in his career was a by-product of youth.