By Mark James
Despite a somewhat resurgent showing against Tottenham this weekend, there can be little doubt that Nani has already given the doubters enough reasons to finally call for his head, whilst one can only assume that it is the injuries to Valencia and Young that see Nani make the bench, let alone the starting eleven.
But, is Nani really the great underachiever that so many suggest? Whilst the years of CR7 tearing apart Premiership defences allowed Nani to progress without the impending spotlight of more than 75,000 pairs of eyes upon him every other weekend, since Ronaldo’s departure, many have wondered exactly when we would see the best of his fellow Portuguese, or at least a version who didn’t seem blinded by the chance to shine.
Sadly, Nani is not Christiano Ronaldo and he never will be. Sure, he is a similar player, someone of fantastic physique, who can use his pace and trickery to ruin the day of even the most respected defender. But, as with any level of football, consistency is everything, and when it comes to Nani, you never quite know what to expect.
Whether motivated by the realisation that he is losing favour amongst the Old Trafford ranks or simply responding to the brushing down he would have received after reportedly laying hands on up and coming reserve player Davide Petrucci, Nani managed to stand out for the first time this season as questions continued to be asked of the Manchester United team as a whole.
Perhaps the biggest issue with Nani is that we all know what he is capable of doing, yet rarely get to enjoy him doing it. This weekend saw him confidently asserting himself on the wing, taking on the opposition and repeatedly getting the ball into the box. Whilst Petrucci can confirm the fact that Nani always hits the first man, the mere sight of the Portuguese international performing as an effective winger demonstrated just what he is capable of in short and increasingly fleeting bursts.
Unfortunately for Manchester United, Nani’s worth is in rapid decline and with every poor decision, lazy cross or ballooning shot, the likelihood of recouping much of the transfer fee spent on the former Sporting man seems less and less likely. Whilst Zenit St Petersburg were reportedly prepared to stump up what would have been a highly welcomed £25 million for Nani’s services, few clubs are likely to remember the more convincing displays the winger produced for his international side during this summer’s much forgotten European Championships.
To make matters worse, the deal supposedly fell through due to the ‘unreal’ wage demands Nani and his advisors brought to the table, potentially leaving Manchester United with a player who will prove impossible to shift; that is, until his contract winds down in 2 years time and he departs for nothing.
Some say that Nani is the marmite of the Manchester United squad, but teammate bashing antics aside, his performances so far this season have far too often been the Nani we hate, rather than the Nani we love. He has everything we want on paper; he is fast, skilful and can produce strikes which would make Sir Bobby proud. Sadly, this Nani rarely graces the Old Trafford turf and I, along with a growing section of the United faithful, are starting to realise just how bitter marmite can taste.
About the Author
Mark James attended his first Manchester United game in the mid 80s. He has been a regular visitor to Old Trafford for more than two decades and has developed a passion for sports writing since leaving University with an Honours Degree in Media Studies. As a dedicated writer, Mark has been published in UN sponsored business magazines on behalf of International Tourist Boards, dramatically boosted the online present of e-commerce companies around the world and continues to share his love of Manchester United with blogging communities across the internet. Available via a number of freelancer hire sites, Mark can be contacted through his leading online profile available here..