Former Manchester United winger Nani has revealed his role in persuading compatriot Bruno Fernandes to move to Old Trafford.
Fernandes has thrived with the Red Devils since making his €55 million (£47m/$60m) move from Sporting CP in January 2020.
Nani knows all about the 27-year-old’s talents from their time together at Estadio Jose Alvalade a few seasons ago, and credits his intervention in ensuring the midfielder snubbed interest from Manchester City and Tottenham to pull on the red shirt.
What did Nani say about Fernandes?
Nani, who now plays 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!'”.
Fernandes scored his first goal for the club in his fourth appearance against Watford in February 2020 and has not looked back since.
In total he has scored 44 goals and contributed 33 assists in 96 appearances in all competitions so far, developing into one of the Premier League’s finest attacking midfielders.
Nani backs Ronaldo return
Fernandes is not the only Portugal star making an impact at Manchester United, with Cristiano Ronaldo now back at Old Trafford following his dramatic summer switch from Juventus.
Nani, who played alongside Ronaldo for both United and Portugal, has backed the forward’s decision to return to the Red Devils while admitting he still takes a keen interest in how his former club are playing.
“It’s special now with Cristiano there," said the winger, who made 230 appearances for the club between 2007 and 2015.
"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."
Asked whether he still follows United , he added: “Always. If I don’t have a game at the same time, of course.
“It’s always a motivation to see Man Utd and Old Trafford full of fans, the way the atmosphere is at that stadium is just incredible. It’s good to see and remember some good moments.”