Manchester United winger Nani has admitted he had to take up the offer to leave Old Trafford in order to regain his confidence following the arrival of Angel di Maria over the summer.
Nani has been at Old Trafford for seven years but his first team action has slowly dried up in recent seasons, and with Di Maria signing on the dotted line in a club record deal worth £59.7 million over the summer he was staring down the barrel of a year on the sidelines.
However new Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal offered Nani, who penned a contract worth £120,000-per-week last year, a chance to leave which he took with both hands - a decision he's not looked like regretting so far. The 28-year-old has bagged two league goals in nine appearances and three goals in the Champions League.
Nani's return to the club that Manchester United signed him from in 2007 was part of Marcos Rojo's £14 million move from Old Trafford this summer.
“I saw the opportunities at United were going to be less for me so I had to make a choice. I had been at Old Trafford for a long time, for seven years, and I think I needed a little time away to understand and find my confidence again,” he confirmed.
“Louis van Gaal gave me the option to go. I could have stayed but I chose the best option for me at the time and I think I was right.”
Although Nani has looked strong since returning to Portugal, Sporting have struggled and they currently occupy 8th place in the Portuguese league. Manchester United have endured similar struggles, and will be aiming to claim back-to-back wins for just the second time when they take on Arsenal this weekend.
There has been plenty of speculation that Nani could return to Manchester United in January, especially as the club's injury woes continue to grow. The winger suggests that is unlikely, but admits a return to Old Trafford in the summer isn't out of the question.
It is a possibility that I might come back to Manchester United. Why not?” he says.
“It is something that eventually we will have to discuss and see if it is possible. But at the moment I am focused on my job at Sporting Lisbon because it is there where I am doing well.
“To move back in January is a little bit more difficult but you never know. Let’s see what they say.”