Nani talks Cristiano Ronaldo comparisons and more in emotional Manchester United interview
- According to Nani, the Cristiano Ronaldo comparisons were testing at the time.
- Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani have shared the dressing room for Manchester United as well as Portugal.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani have come a long way since graduating from the Sporting Lisbon academy. While Cristiano Ronaldo secured his dream move to Manchester United in the summer of 2003, his compatriot arrived in 2007 when the former was already one of the best players in the world.
Alongside Nani, Cristiano Ronaldo won two league titles and a UEFA Champions League at Manchester United. However, the highlight moment of their careers arrived in 2016, as a Cristiano Ronaldo led Portugal side won the European Championships against all the odds.
Speaking to UTD Podcast, Nani shed light on what it was like to share a dressing room with Cristiano Ronaldo for club and country. It was even revealed that the pair lived together at Cristiano Ronaldo's home for a month in 2007 when Nani was settling into life in England.
“Cristiano Ronaldo was very competitive. When you’re staying in his house for a day, it means he challenges you at any time. Sometimes, it’s just competing to see who knows who’s telling the truth, or who is right about something."
Nani also revealed Cristiano Ronaldo's willingness to compete off the pitch, which is a startling example of his desire to win.
"Every time, there was a discussion to see who was right or who was better. He was the only one who had a car then, in the beginning, so we had to be ready to go with him. Fantastic moments and great memories we have.”
Nani also revealed that former Anderson, who was also a Manchester United player at the time, was roommates with himself and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Nani - Cristiano Ronaldo connection
The 33-year-old revealed that he first met Cristiano Ronaldo in national team duty in 2006. Nani also added that he would be compared to Cristiano Ronaldo, as the pair had similar playing styles.
"He was young but had so much quality and we were looking to him. We’d get close so fast because people were saying we had the same style. We were together in the first days after I arrived in the national team and that was it, even more so when I moved to Manchester.”
Due to their playing styles, the inevitable comparisons with Cristiano Ronaldo did not deter Nani from producing the goods for Manchester United. However, the Portuguese winger revealed that he had a lot more responsibility on his shoulders after Cristiano Ronaldo's departure to Real Madrid in 2009.
"I’d not let it affect me as my focus was not on there but, after, when I had more responsibility in Manchester, when Cristiano left, at the beginning it was a little bit difficult.”
“There were a lot of comparisons and it looks like you need to prove yourself every time, to do the same or as good as him, when you are a different player."
After Cristiano Ronaldo's departure, Nani took centre stage at Old Trafford. The 2010-11 season was his best in a red shirt, as he was voted Fans Player of the Year and earned a place in the PFA Team of the Season, whilst also being nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year award.
Nani also claimed that his time with Manchester United was the best phase of his career, as he looked back on a successful spell at Old Trafford.
“For me, the most important, beautiful, great moments that passed for me were in Manchester. I know that people still recognise me, love me, talk about what I did there. So why not think positive. I’ll always be Nani for everyone, you know.”
While Nani did not reach the heights Cristiano Ronaldo did at Manchester United, he left his mark in one of the most decorated clubs in world football.
Much like Cristiano Ronaldo himself, Nani will be remembered fondly by the Old Trafford faithful for his contributions is one of their most successful periods in the modern era.