Ahead of the Manchester derby, Nani says he helped nudge his compatriot towards an Old Trafford move during their time as team-mates at Sporting C.P.
Former Manchester United winger and current Orlando City star Nani has revealed he steered Bruno Fernandes away from Manchester City before the Portugal midfielder completed his January move to the Premier League.
Fernandes was Manchester United’s big January signing as the star midfielder moved to Old Trafford from Sporting C. P.
Manchester United paid €55 million (£47m/$60m) to sign the talented Portuguese, who has already shown signs of justifying his pricetag in his first few weeks at Old Trafford.
Fernandes has provided four goals and two assists in his first six matches with the club, with United legend Paul Scholes saying that Fernandes makes the team “watchable” thanks to his ability in the attack.
Four-time Premier League winner Nani saw that ability up close and personal during his stint at Sporting, where he played alongside Fernandes for half a season.
The Euro 2016 champion says that he knew immediately that Fernandes was a player that could help Manchester United, even if he needed a little bit of a push to get there.
“That moment I was playing with him, I saw so much quality and so much potential in that player,” Nani told Goal.
“One day in a conversation with him I just motivated him to train a little bit harder because that was the only thing that he needed in that moment for him to compete at the high level in the Premier League or Spain or a different league.
“My advice, at that time, I told him that the best move for him was to go England because his style of game is the one they appreciate a lot and he will score beautiful goals as he liked to do with shooting from long range and making the fans crazy.”
Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand said that Nani and Cristiano Ronaldo gave him glowing reviews of Fernandes before the midfielder signed with the club.
The 20-time English champions weren’t the only club linked with the talented midfielder, as Manchester City were also said to be interested in the 25-year-old.
Nani says he’s thankful that it was his former club that got the deal done, giving Fernandes a chance to be the next Portuguese star to star at Old Trafford.
Ahead of this weekend’s Manchester derby, Nani said: “As soon as I saw the news, the possibilities, I told him, ‘Don’t choose Manchester City, don’t choose any other team. You choose Man Utd!’
“After a couple of months, he moved to Manchester United and I was so, so happy because that advice and his choice were matching.
“It was beautiful because the moment I saw him play there, being the best player, scoring goals. It’s nice when it works like that.”
Nani is set to begin his second MLS campaign with Orlando City, having scored 12 goals while providing 30 assists in his first season in the league.
Orlando City are set to face the Colorado Rapids on Saturday as Nani will serve the second match of a two-game ban stemming from an incident at the end of last season.
The Lions settled for a scoreless draw in their season opener against Real Salt Lake without their star winger.