Nani: The Most Frustrating Talent Who Was Unplayable On His Day

Back in 2017, former Manchester United captain Rio Ferdinand spoke about the player who "had everything" but ultimately left him frustrated.

"He just got sidetracked." Ferdinand told Ball Street. "I don't know, he just didn't do it all the time. He could shoot better than anybody, left and right, and so hard with both feet but he wasn't consistent with it,"

"Nani was a great player. I remember he started one of the season's like a house on fire and he definitely would have won player of the year if he continued that vein of form."

Image: PA
Image: PA

That inconsistency would ultimately be his biggest downfall but for all his flaws, Nani remains one of the most fascinating players in Premier League history.

He produced the odd moment of brilliance in a Manchester United shirt, notably against Arsenal, when he chopped past Gael Clichy and Cesc Fabregas on the right wing before chipping a helpless Manuel Almunia.

Not to mention the time he humiliated Arsene Wenger's side when he casually performed Keepy Uppies.

But more often than not, this pacey winger would fail to deliver on a consistent basis.


It earned him the label of a frustratingly brilliant player - a "what could have been" player if there ever was one.

He was clearly a gifted football who was extremely confident in his own ability.

"As a player I think I'm close to being as complete as I can be. Now I can say I'm one of the top players in the world." he told the media in 2010.

"You have to believe in yourself and believe in your abilities on the pitch. Big games are for big players."

''In the future, I want everyone to be saying Nani is one of the best players in the world. That is my ambition."

Image: PA
Image: PA

To his credit, Nani did have the tendency to perform in big games.

He played a part in Manchester United's famous Champions League winning campaign against Chelsea, netting in the penalty shoot out before John Terry slipped on his arse.

And his love affair with scoring against Manchester City will always be remembered.

But when push comes to shove, many agree that he underachieved at Old Trafford, despite winning the Champions League, four Premier League titles and two League Cups.

Despite those negative perceptions, Nani did play 230 games for Manchester United during his spell at the club.

He scored 40 goals, most of which where highlight reel worthy screamers, and provided 73 assists under Sir Alex Ferguson.

In fact, If you compare his first 100 Premier League appearances to Cristiano Ronaldo, the winger produced a massive 21 more assists that the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.

Image: Sky Sports
Image: Sky Sports

Whatever you think about the Portuguese winger, those stats are certainly impressive.

What are your favourite memories of the 32-year-old?

Let us know in the comments.

Jack Kenmare

Jack Kenmare is a writer at SPORTbible. He's interviewed some huge names in the world of sport, including Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Pele, Carles Puyol and Tim Henman. He dabbles in all things sport, but football is his biggest passion. He was once hit in the head by a wayward strike from Nicky Butt and lived to tell the tale.

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