From poor man’s Ronaldo, to now a mainstay at Old Trafford

The transformation of Nani at Old Trafford has been quite unbelievable. No longer is he the frustrating winger who fans wanted to love but couldn’t trust him to be consistent. How things have changed, changed so dramatically in fact, to the point where he is fast becoming Manchester United’s most important player. Nani is now the man to be relied on to score important goals. His superb strike against Stoke is another example of how far the winger has come.

If we cast our minds back a year, it seemed his days at Old Trafford were numbered. He had a very public falling out with Sir Alex Ferguson, and his performances were at best inconsistent. Something changed in 2010, and Nani has got better and better. He announced himself as the player for Manchester United’s future with his superb performance against Arsenal. That game was the turning point and Nani has not looked back. It shows the immense faith that Sir Alex Ferguson has in the winger that he was not sold, and Nani has not let his manager down.

It was clear that Nani needed Cristiano Ronaldo to leave the club. The departure of Carlos Queiroz as well did not help Nani, in his struggle to settle into Old Trafford. Queiroz was a father figure to Ronaldo, helping him in his first years at the club. For Nani not to have that father figure must have delayed his development, but his ability was never in any doubt. Nani will always be judged against Cristiano Ronaldo. For two players who are so different, it is unfair on the winger. Ronaldo played his best years at Manchester United through the middle but I can’t envisage Nani having that ability. He is an out and out winger, Ronaldo wasn’t.

Manchester United fans must be very excited to have two out and out wide men when Antonio Valencia returns. It is the way Sir Alex Ferguson prefers to set his team out, and it is an exciting brand of football. Nani can carry United over the finishing line this season without a doubt. Imagine if this Manchester United team really fired in the second half of the season. If Wayne Rooney finds his goal scoring touch and Antonio Valencia returns the same player, United could stroll to the Premier League title. If that was to happen, the importance of Nani can’t go unmentioned. Nani is fast becoming the most important man at Manchester United.

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