Former Manchester United winger Nani has revealed he steered his compatriot Bruno Fernandes away from Manchester City before the Portuguese midfielder completed his move to Old Trafford.
The 25-year-old was United’s big January signing as the star midfielder joined Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s ranks from Sporting CP. The Red Devils paid £46.5 million initially, plus £21 million in additional bonuses, which now seems like an absolute bargain after Fernandes’ dominant start to life in the Premier League.
The Maia-born maestro has scored four goals and provided two assists in his first six matches with United legend Paul Scholes saying that Fernandes makes the team “watchable” thanks to his god given ability to attack.
Four-time Premier League winner Nani saw that ability up close and personal during his stint at Sporting, where he played alongside Fernandes for half a season.
The 33-year-old says he knew immediately that Fernandes was a player that could help Manchester United, even if he needed a little bit of a push to get there.
“That moment I was playing with him, I saw so much quality and so much potential in that player,” said Nani, per Goal.com.
“One day in conversation with him I just motivated him to train a little bit harder because that was the only thing that he needed in that moment for him to compete at the high level in the Premier League or Spain or a different league.
“My advice, at that time, I told him that the best move for him was to go to England because his style of game is the one they appreciate a lot and he will score beautiful goals as he looked to do with shooting from long range and making the fans crazy.”
Nani also stated that the 20-time English champions weren’t the only club linked with the talented midfielder, as Manchester City were also said to be in the hunt for the 25-year-old.
The Euro 2016 champion said he’s thankful that it was his former club that got the deal done, giving Fernandes a chance to be the next Portuguese star at Old Trafford following on from the legacies of both himself and Cristiano Ronaldo.
“As soon as I saw the news, the possibilities, I told him, ‘Don’t choose Manchester City, don’t choose any other team. You choose Man Utd!’” said Nani.
“After a couple of months, he moved to Manchester United and I was so happy because that advice and his choice were matching.
“It was beautiful because the moment I saw him play there, being the best player, scoring goals. It’s nice when it works out like that.”
Nani is set to begin his second MLS campaign with Orlando City in the coming weeks, having scored 12 goals while providing 30 assists in an astonishing first season at the Florida-based club.
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