Nani showed his class on Monday night in Manchester United's 2-1 win over Reading, where he came off the bench to score the first goal and set up the second. Prior to that, he had two long range efforts - one of those being a sweet volley from 20-yards which hit the post.
For many United fans, the brilliance of Nani is seen far too little as his inconsistency has been his main weakness in his years at Old Trafford. However, some of the criticism aimed towards to the Portuguese International is unfair and people need reminding that he was United's player of the season in their record-breaking title win back in 2011.
Since his arrival to England he has had the huge tag of being labelled the next Cristiano Ronaldo, his fellow countryman and teammate at the time. But Nani has been a player with great ability and talent of his own, from lovely skills and tricks to blistering long range strikes that have wowed the United faithful. During his first year, the inconsistency could be forgiven due to his young age and being a new player trying to adapt to the English game, but slowly during his second season and part way through his third fans started to become restless and even the manager seemed to be ready to sell him when it looked like he was going to fail to live up to his huge potential.
However, the penny did seem to finally drop when a virtuoso display against Arsenal at the Emirates stadium in January 2010 ignited his United career, scoring a wonderful opener before setting up a Rooney goal in a devastating counter attack. Performances from then on continued to be good and more importantly consistent, with vital goals and assists coming in games against the likes of Bayern Munich and Tottenham. It seemed the winger had grown in maturity and the fear of being sold in the summer meant he was looking to prove his critics wrong.
The following season, Nani continued where he left off and managed to reach double figures in goals for the first time in a Manchester United shirt and he also created 18 goals in the league as United went on to win their 19th league title.
Nani was also instrumental in their road to the European Cup final at Wembley, where he was unlucky not to start in the final. In the early stages of last season, Nani did not disappoint as he immediately hit the ground running with two wonderful goals against Manchester City in the Community Shield. However, after a great start to the season, injuries managed to disrupt his season and action on the pitch was limited for the dazzling winger. That's when people started to question him again, calling him a flop, inconsistent and not good enough. Again, this was all unfair for a man who had proved his worth to the club over the past season and when he did come back from injury towards the end of the season, he was once more instrumental in United's title push scoring and assisting goals.
Finally, we arrive to this current season, where Nani has struggled with form, but injuries and not enough game time have contributed to this. Also, when competing with likes of Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young and Shinji Kagawa, places on the wings are not easy to come by.
A lot of people seem to think that Nani is the worst of the lot, however when looking at the stats and comparing him to the likes of Valencia and Young, he actually gives more. He has two feet, can beat a man and can score and create goals, something that Valencia and Young aren't renowned for as much. With a good run of games, people will start to realise that Nani is United's best winger and just needs to be loved a bit more and appreciated as many top clubs would love a player with his ability in their team.
With the arrival of Wilfried Zaha this summer, all signs point to Nani leaving the club, but Sir Alex Ferguson has backed the 26-year-old before and if Nani can re-discover that consistent form from not too long ago, then there is a great chance that he will stay and become a key figure at Old Trafford once again.
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