Nani – Rightly deserves his own identity

What brings me to writing this post is when some of my friends on twitter were insistent that the Manchester United No. 17, Luís Carlos Almeida da Cunha aka NANI is an offprint of the two time Barclays Player of the Season and 2008 Ballon d’Or Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro aka CR7.

Here am going to compare and contrast the two players and hope by the end of this article, there will be more than one reason for Nani to be known for the player he is.

Early Days, Background

CR7 [Feb 05 1985]: Started playing for Andorinha [8 years] where his dad was working as a kit man. Sporting CP subsequently signed him and he played for the U-17 Portugese team in 2001-02.

Nani [Nov 17 1986]: Learned football from his elder brother. When he turned 14, his brother took him along to train with Real Massama. Soon started training with Sporting and Benfica. Was a fan of Porto and idolized Luis Figo.


CR7: His guile and trickery came to the attention of SAF when Sporting Lisbon beat Manchester United 3-1 at home in 2003. Subsequently he became the first Portugese player to sign for United for around £12m.

Nani: “I would only leave Portugal for a club like United. The Premiership is a spectacular league and the chance to play with Ronaldo would be a dream.” Upon CR7’s encouragement and the fact Tottenham had just robbed United the opportunity to sign Gareth Bale; SAF beat Spurs to signing [around £25m] his 2nd Portugese winger touted to replace Ryan Giggs [Giggs had just announced his international retirement and ‘was’ expected to quit club football in a season or two].

STATISTICS [at United]

Season-wise Cristiano Ronaldo

Luis Nani

Appearances Goals Assists® Appearances Goals Assists®
2003-04 49 9 3
2004-05 33 5 4
2005-06 46 12 6
2006-07 41 23 13
2007-08 48 42 7 41 4 6
2008-09 45 25 6 31 6 4
2009-10 34 7 10
2010-11 34* 10* 15*

®All Assist stats are from the Premier League only.
*Current Season


*All ratings below are my personal views. Feel free to share your opinion.

Attributes Cristiano Ronaldo Luis Nani
Pace ↑↑↑↑ ↑↑↑
Dribbling ↑↑↑ ↑↑↑
Two feet ↑↑↑ ↑↑↑
Wing play ↑↑↑ ↑↑↑
Free Kicks ↑↑↑↑ ↑↑
Finishing ↑↑↑↑ ↑↑↑
Crossing ↑↑↑ ↑↑↑↑
Defending ↑↑ ↑↑↑↑

My Conclusion

  • Same schooling and similar backgrounds, they both grew up watching and idolizing the prolific Portugese winger Luis Figo.
  • Similarity in their attributes makes it even harder to differentiate them.
  • The fact that Nani appeared in the same team in England 3 years after CR7 joined, all his skills were likened to be a raw version of the fine tuned CR7.
  • The departure of CR7 to Real Madrid to pursue his dream after some record breaking seasons in English football, generally the fans expected Nani to take up the mantle of what CR7 left, piling more pressure onto him.
  • His current season is a perfect example of him making a mark of his OWN, patrolling the wings, terrorizing full backs, turning games on it’s head. Valencia’s injury technically forced him to become the GO-TO man, and he thankfully obliged.
  • He is a more complete winger than Cristiano was for United, and of course less whiny and works his socks off to fall back and defend for the team’s cause.
  • His play acting can be attributed to his immaturity, but he is an artist with the ball at his feet. And to see Jamie Carragher put his foot through [and possibly ending his career] is a criminal act which went unpunished. [Going to blog on refereeing as well soon!
  • Nani may never be a CR7, cause the latter is a much more all round player and rightfully among the best in the world. His compatriot has enough talent to be the best in his department. And this season is a justification to his maturity as a player and a person both on and off the field.

All I want to say is, in my opinion, this season he is showing signs of making his own mark and is by far the best winger this season, if not among the top 3 midfielders.


1. goes on the attackFerguson-goes-on-the-attack#ixzz1GUM5faH6






6 thoughts on “Nani – Rightly deserves his own identity

Add yours

  1. Strongly agree.. if i may add a bit more from my side.. I have always felt Ronaldo was more suited as a secondary forward/attacking midfielder rather than a winger.. someone to bridge that gap between the midfield and forward.. a sort of play making forward to be more precise who loves to score goals whenever and whereever he can.. we’ve seen him struggle when asked to play as a complete forward for portugal.. and he goes from mid to fwd whenever he can from what i have observed so i have come to that conclusion.. whereas Nani is a proper winger in the Arjen Robben mold.. charges down the wings with the ball and loves to cut in and take shots at goal and yes a MUCH better crosser than ronaldo which is a attribute more suited to a winger than a forward..

    even in football manager which is feel is a VERY GOOD SIMULATION.. if u try ronaldo as a winger and as a secondary forward you can notice a HUGE difference in his playing.. but then yes that is just a game.. but it’s pretty close to real life..

    Nani is a winger.. can’t play him anywhere else..


  2. agreed many parts…… nani also can score goals wit ease…. and a way better crosser than cr7… cr7 never made 15 assists in a season….. cant agree both r dfrnt kinda players, both r wingers, same style and hungry for score goals…….

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