Manchester United icon Nani has explained his role in persuading Portuguese compatriot Bruno Fernandes to join the Old Trafford club.
Fernandes has been a revelation in the north-west of England since completing a £47m move from Sporting CP in January 2020.
The prodigious playmaker has been directly involved in 77 goals for the Red Devils in just 96 appearances across all competitions, establishing a status as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s most influential attacking threat.
Such was Fernandes’ impact in his first full season at Old Trafford that he concluded the campaign with his second successive Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award (also picking it up in 2019/20, despite playing just half a season), as well as earning a place in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year.
Veteran winger Nani, who made over 200 appearances for Man Utd between 2007 and 2015, was no stranger to lighting up Old Trafford with exhibitions of creative brilliance, and he knew full well about the talents of Fernandes prior to his move, having played alongside him in Lisbon.
Nani, who now turns out for MLS side Orlando City, told The Athletic: “I was the first one to tell him he should go to England and if he decides to go to England, if he can choose Man Utd it would be the best thing for him.
“That was funny because a couple of months later when I went to Orlando I saw the news and I texted him because I was seeing Man City and Man Utd and Tottenham were fighting for him and I said, ‘If you have to go, you choose Man United! It’s the best!’”.
Nani also gave his thoughts on Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to England, believing the enthusiastic Ballon d’Or collector made the right decision to reunite with Man Utd, and has backed the move to become a resounding success.
He continued: “It’s special now with Cristiano there.
“Obviously, when you see the news and the situation of him at Juventus you could imagine that there was no better place for him to go than to go back. In my head, I knew he could go. I knew the news would be true so it wasn’t that much of a surprise to me.”