Jose Mourinho has heaped praise on Manchester United outcast Nani and believes the Portugal international has what it takes to relaunch his career at Old Trafford.
Nani was loaned to Sporting Lisbon for the season after failing to impress Louis van Gaal, and played against Mourinho’s side in the Champions League on Tuesday night.
Chelsea ran out 1-0 winners at the Estádio José Alvalade, but Nani was bright and looked determined to make an impact against the Premier League club.
Mourinho: Nani has great quality
Mourinho described the winger as a player of “great quality” and feels he now possesses the required motivation to get his career back on track.
“It must have been in special circumstances,” Mourinho said in an interview with the Portuguese newspaper Record. “Without wanting to enter into areas which aren’t my own, it will have been the consequence of the transfer of [Marcos] Rojo to Man United.
“What counts in practice is that Sporting have a player of great quality in the best years of his career. Perhaps his aim is not to stay at Sporting until the end of his career, but to relaunch it and return to Man Utd. He must be very motivated in this new spell.”
Nani contracted to United until 2018
The 27-year-old is contracted to the Red Devils until 2018 after signing a five-year contract extension in September 2013.
But despite his new deal, handed to him by David Moyes, Nani made just 13 appearances last season, scoring one goal.
It proved to be another frustrating campaign for the winger, whose last impressive season came under Sir Alex Ferguson in 2011-12, when he scored 10 goals in all competitions for the second successive campaign.
But sustained periods of brilliance have been all too rare for Nani since he arrived at Old Trafford from Sporting in 2007.
Will Van Gaal give him another chance?
Whether Van Gaal decides to give Nani another chance remains to be seen. However, United will struggle to find any club willing to pay his £120,000-a-week wages.
Indeed, the Red Devils are still paying the Portuguese star’s wages - in full - even though he’s spending the rest of the campaign back in his home country.
Nani has already scored two goals in five appearances for Sporting and admits that he could still have a role to play at Old Trafford over the forthcoming years.
But the question is: does Van Gaal share the same opinion as the player and Jose Mourinho?