Melbourne Victory’s newest signing Nani may be an international football superstar, but here are some things you might not know about the talented Portuguese winger.
1. His full name
Nani’s full name is Luis Carlos Almeida da Cunha. The nickname ‘Nani’ was given to him by an older sister who looked after him as a baby.
2. He played for both Benfica and Sporting CP as a junior
Nani grew up in the densely populated municipality of Amadora in Lisbon, before joining local club Real Massamá as a teenager. A few years later, Nani found himself training on alternate days with Benfica and Sporting CP, two of Portuguese football’s greatest rivals. Sporting CP eventually rewarded him with a spot in their youth team which would prove to be the launchpad for his career.
3. He scored on his senior international debut
Nani’s senior debut for the Portugal men’s national team came on 1 September 2006 against Denmark. In a game featuring fellow future stars Cristiano Ronaldo and Joao Moutinho, Nani scored Portugal’s second goal in what ended up as a 4-2 loss.
4. He recorded more assists than anyone else in the 2010/11 English Premier League season
14 assists. Nobody can doubt Nani’s pedigree when it comes to creativity on the pitch. Nani beat out the likes of Didier Drogba, Wayne Rooney and Cesc Fabregas to claim top spot on the assists chart in the same season that he won Manchester United’s Players’ Player of the Year award.
5. He scored his 100th career goal in his 500th match as a professional
Nani has a habit of scoring on big occasions, as demonstrated by this well-timed achievement. The game occurred during Nani’s stint with Valencia in 2016 as he led his side to a 2-1 win.
6. He is the recipient of a Portuguese Order of Merit
After Portugal won the Euro 2016 final in France, Nani, alongside the rest of the winning Portuguese squad, was awarded a Commander grade Order of Merit in recognition of his achievement.