Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Nani agrees new five-year contract with Manchester United

Nani during last night's Portugal squad training session ahead of their World Cup qualifier with Northern Ireland at Windsor Park
Nani during last night's Portugal squad training session ahead of their World Cup qualifier with Northern Ireland at Windsor Park

Manchester United boss David Moyes has confirmed that winger Nani has put pen to paper on a new five-year contract at Old Trafford.

There has been speculation that the Portuguese international was on his way out of the club this summer, having failed to build on his undoubted potential when he was labelled as the “next Cristiano Ronaldo”.

The 26-year-old was sent-off in the Champions League clash with Real Madrid, which saw United knocked out of the competition despite being the better team across the two legs.

But instead, Nani has agreed a new deal that ties him to the club until 2018.

"I'm really pleased Nani has re-signed for the next five years," said United boss David Moyes.

"He has great ability and experience and beyond his 26 years."

The addition of Wilfried Zaha, who has joined the squad this summer having spent the second-half of last season on-loan with Crystal Palace after Sir Alex Ferguson signed him in January, had appeared to pave the way for either Nani, Ashley Young or Antonio Valencia to leave the club.

With just a year left on his contract, Nani was the most likely candidate to be sold this summer, although new manager David Moyes held onto all three after the transfer window closed on Monday.

It was then considered that United needed to tie down the 62-time capped Portuguese to a new contract, but the length of the deal seems to indicate that Nani is firmly in Moyes’ plans for the future.

"I've been impressed with his approach to training and look forward to working with him in the coming seasons," added Moyes.

Nani’s time with United has been an inconsistent one at best, with the winger ranging from the virtuoso to the brainless at times. His ability to play on either flank is a welcome bonus, but he appears to have a tendency to switch off when he is not at his best.

That said, his best has drawn comparisons to United’s former Number 7, with Nani earmarked as Ronaldo’s replacement when he left for Real Madrid in 2009. Since then, Nani has failed to push on and nail down his first-team place, leading Ferguson to feel the need to bring in Zaha as United’s future star winger.

Nani joined the club for £17m back in 2007, and has built an impressive haul of honours in his time with the club, claiming four Premier League titles as well as the Champions League success of 2008, in which he scored during the penalty shootout defeat of Chelsea.

And while he was linked with a move away from the club, he now seems happier among the United ranks, demonstrated by his willingness to commit to such a long-term deal.

"Playing at United has been a fantastic experience for me," Nani said.

"When I came to the club, I never imagined the success we have enjoyed.

"Training every day with top players who want to win trophies every year is a great motivation to me.

"I'm very happy that the new manager has shown this faith in me and I'm looking forward to helping the team compete for more honours this season."

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