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]
®All Assist stats are from the Premier League only.
*All ratings below are my personal views. Feel free to share your opinion.
|Attributes||Cristiano Ronaldo||Luis Nani|
- 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.