Nani reveals the reason he snubbed Arsenal & Chelsea to sign for Man Utd

Nani won seven major honours during his eight-year Manchester United career
Nani won seven major honours during his eight-year Manchester United career (Picture: Getty)

Former Manchester United hero Nani always believed it was his destiny to play for the club after he visited Old Trafford as a youngster, which made his decision to snub interest from Chelsea and Arsenal a simple one.

The Portugal international arrived in the summer of 2007 from Sporting Lisbon, billed as the next Cristiano Ronaldo. Although Nani struggled to match the exploits of his compatriot, he contributed significantly over the course of his eight-year spell at the club, during which time he won seven major honours.

Nani first felt a connection with the club when he took a tour of Old Trafford as a youngster and his affection for United intensified when he watch Sir Alex Ferguson’s side seal an historic treble when they beat Bayern Munich in the 1999 Champions League final.

‘I went into Manchester a couple of years before, three or four years before, when I was a junior at 17 years old,’ he told the club’s official website. ‘We went to England for a pre-season, I don’t remember where, but we were training and the coach, one day, said: ‘Guys, we’re preparing for a tour at Old Trafford.’

‘Wow, wow, Old Trafford! Wow! The day we went there, we were inside the museum and there was a challenge game to see who had the hardest shot. It would give the numbers and I was there, kicking every time, I can tell you, one of the hardest shots. My very hardest shot.

Nani signed for Manchester United in the summer of 2007 and won the Premier League title and Champions League in his first season
Nani signed for Manchester United in the summer of 2007 and won the Premier League title and Champions League in his first season (Picture: Getty)

‘Okay, on to the dressing room and it was a special moment as it was where the players sit and change for a game. I was very excited. Giggs, Cristiano, Beckham have been here and I went there inside. I remember I was sitting and the guy giving the tour said to us, ‘Cristiano sits here, Giggs sits there’. Oh, they sit here! Oh my goodness! Unbelievable. One day, I will sit here and I will be here.

‘The game when Manchester United won 2-1 against Bayern Munich, in the final, I remember I had a situation with another friend. I think he lives in England now. The game was on and we ran to one cafe to get to watch the last minutes. I remember I said to him, ‘That’s my team. I will be in that team. That’s my team’. I remember that and, sometimes, things come out of my mouth and I don’t have an idea what I’m saying.’

Nani starred in the same Manchester United team as his Portugal international teammate Cristiano Ronaldo
Nani starred in the same Manchester United team as his Portugal international teammate Cristiano Ronaldo (Picture: Getty)

Nani’s dream became a reality in the same summer that Ferguson recruited Anderson from Sporting’s rivals Porto. United’s legendary manager had to fend off competition from a number of heavyweight European clubs, but Nani wasted little time in making a decision.

‘At that time, I was lucky because I was working with the strongest agents in the world and then we had a connection with a lot of important persons,’ he added.

‘People who were important in Manchester because, at that time, Ronaldo was playing there and had a similar story, you know, playing for Sporting and then Ferguson went to bring him to United. Carlos Queiroz was there as well, he’s Portuguese, so it can help a little bit and I was very excited.

‘My agent asked me as there were so many teams to choose from – Chelsea, Arsenal, teams in Italy like Juventus and Inter [Milan]. Bayern [Munich] and [Real] Madrid – I don’t know if they were true but it was in the news.

‘I chose Manchester because of the reasons they gave me at that time and everything [about how] the past was involved with me. It gave me the reasons to go there, all my story and beyond that, told me to go to Manchester.

‘It was a club where I have a story in the past before I moved to Manchester, when I was a kid, so it was good.’

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