Nani, Nani…what to do with Nani!?

Before I go into what will obviously be a criticism of our young Portuguese winger let me just say that I think he has a lot of talent and ability and can develop into a top player for us – however, in my opinion he hasn’t shown this in the early stages of the season. Now, i’m an optimist and I am a firm believer in getting behind our players – however I do feel that where criticism is due it shouldn’t be hidden behind club allegiance. The lad must release the ball quicker in my opinion. I don’t believe he is greedy – he just needs to obtain greater awareness, which is a difficult skill to develop especially at the biggest club in the world.

Nani a 2007 summer signing

I’ve read forum posts today that are totally unfair on the boy and I don’t understand how fans can become so fickle sometimes. Nani has a great shot, is skillful and can be capable of putting in some superb crosses. This season though we haven’t seen it, so far. I am confident that Nani will turn into a top footballer, although no where near the class of Ronaldo – which some people still like to compare him to. I’ve never understood the comparison to be honest; both from Portugal and both signed from Sporting Lisbon. The playing styles of either player are completely different – I wouldn’t even say Nani is like Ronaldo when he first joined the club either.

What are you talking about? I can strike the campest pose!

So to the main point of the blog, what should Fergie do with Nani? Should he continue to play him in the knowledge that he is a good player and will produce sooner or later OR do you believe the gaffer should give Park a run in the first team at the expense of Nani? Park has been superb in the last few games and deserves a run considering all of his injuries over the past two seasons.

I spoke about awareness and of course Fergie knows best – he will be able to see if Nani needs to improve on this side of his game. Do you think this is his main problem? The groans I heard on Saturday when a simple pass to Paul Scholes on the edge of the area didn’t come – I don’t know why he takes so long to pass the ball. Of course you should know, as a winger, when the best time is to pass and dribble – there may be times when you need to hold on to the ball but Nani seems to hold on that little too long, does anyone else agree or am I being harsh on him?

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15 Responses to “Nani, Nani…what to do with Nani!?”

  1. KhrisUnited says:

    I think you are right when it comes to him holding the ball too long and taking his sweat time to pass it, but i think that on set plays (especially corners) the boy can deliver. Neither Hargreaves, Giggs and or Tevez have been able to deliver a better corner kick than he has. I know, we have yet to score on a corner, but if you have noticed, he’s delivery has been the best of our usual corner takers.

    If you ask me to choose between Nani and Park, I will hands down choose Nani. Like most of our players, he just need more games to get his rhythm going. When it comes to Park, i got to admit that he’s a hussler. But also he is very sloopy with the ball, and every time he has control over it (or lack of..) he makes me nervous cause i know he will loose posession.

    I dont know…Nani vs. Park, its a close call

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  2. truthsayer says:

    Last season wen i saw Nani, i thought he was gonna be better than ronaldo. However, the more time he spent at utd, the worse he became. I like his set piece delivery but his ability to be aware and make decisions is very poor. All he’s gotta do is move and pass at the rght time but he plays as though he’s got straw in his brain. Against bolton, i was very disappointed cos there were chances where he cud have made good passes but rather prefers to be selfish and shoot from the most acute angles. There were chances he cud have created for berbatov as well which only got me frustrated. As much talent as Nani has got, if he keeps playing for himself and not making good decision that favors the team, he wont make it at utd. Ronaldo being able to make right decisions is what has turned him into a superstar. I do hope he learns because he would be wasted talent
    At the moment if i were ferguson, i will start park ahead of him. Khris utd, i have to disagree with u that Park is clumsy and u are afraid he will give away possession. If u wanna find a clumsy player, go check dong. And for the record, park wins the ball well and provides good cover for the fullbacks. Nani commits foul and is more likely to give the ball away

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  3. Yolkie says:

    I agree essentially with most of this. He’s had a frustrating start to this season but it should also be remembered that he is now playing on his own standards rather than a blank page. What I mean is, we know what he is capable of.

    The biggest problem I think is over confidence. He was very impressive in his first season but he is not yet ready to control a game, watching against Bolton and against Aalborg his timing of releasing the ball, was as noted by just about everyone, pretty awful.

    I have to disagree with Khris, I think in Giggs and Carrick we have better dead ball deliveries – not to say Nani’s isn’t good, it was that skill in particular that carried us through the early stages last season, I just don’t think we’re as awful in that department.

    My opinion would be to not condemn him so soon. We know he has talent and needs must at the minute, with a bare midfield, it’s almost impossible to rest him.

    It would be interesting to see how Fergie played against Blackburn if he did rest Nani, however. Indications are that Hargreaves could be fit so this could be an opportunity to play Anderson wide left, as he has done many times in the past, with a Hargo and Giggsy midfield.

    In a fully fit squad I would still only at this stage use Nani as fresh legs because he can cause real damage from the bench – see Liverpool last season.

    With the abundance of talent we have in a fully fit squad I just can’t see how Park will get in, or should get in. I love the lad, don’t get me wrong, but he seems to me to be a stifling player rather than a creative one. Putting it another way, playing Park and Fletcher at Stamford Bridge is and was a fantastic idea because of their own certain qualities, but playing Park, say, at home to Liverpool or Arsenal isn’t neccessarily going to instil fear into the opposition full back, even away at Blackburn, we shouldn’t be going to stifle with creativity on the bench as a back up. That was our biggest problem from 04 to 06 and why we ended up losing so many stupid games.

    If the question is Nani or Park for this Saturday then as I intimated above, if Hargreaves is fit, I’d have to say neither.

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  4. gari says:

    nani should be retired to the bench because the young man has a lot to learn about being a team player. ronaldo was like that during his first season but he is now a great player……park vs nani, i would go with park

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  5. Crimson Clover says:

    Guys, I think over-expectation is an apt word to cast when criticizing Nani of late. The expectation is borne of comparing Ronaldo as the ‘finished’ article and Nani on his current form.

    Let’s look at the 2 players. Ronaldo is 23, Nani is 22. Ronaldo joined in 2003. Correct me if I am wrong, but it took Ronaldo 4 seasons to reach his ‘full potential.’

    Nani joined last year. This is his second season. It seems the critics expect him to be the complete article NOW.

    Also, the over-expectation comes from the fact that he scored some sublime goals in his first season. That lead many to say that he was more advanced than Ronaldo at comparable stages of their careers.

    He is still learning his craft, and needs our support so that when ( not if ) a certain prodigal prodigy leaves the Theatre of Dreams, we hopefully have a comparable talent to attempt to fill the vacuum.

    And comparing squandering of chances and possession, my uneducated impression is that both Park and Nani would exhibit proportionally very much the same profligacy in possession taking into account that Park has had more game time than Nani.

    As whether to play Nani or Park, I say the trainer should choose horses for courses. If we need a busy midfield with a more dynamic engine, then Park. For teams that like to sit back deeper, Nani’s trickery and pace would be more probing.

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  6. He was nothing short of shocking against Aalborg. I dunno how he managed to stay on the pitch. He should’ve been taken off. His delivery was terrible and was always too late. He’s lucky he’s a different generation to Roy Keane as Keane would’ve tore his head off. How the other players put up with him I don’t know.

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  7. Jim says:

    Gareth, I totally agree with the final point you make, the lad needs to hear it from the players, and from Fergie, and then let him go off and sulk, until he realizes they are right. If he doesn’t come around sooner than later, he isn’t what United need.

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  8. realred says:

    fickle and impatient are the words that stand out in my mind.

    The boy is young and is still settling down at a new club in a foreign land!

    In his first season he scored a couple wonder goals and made 2nd most assist in the enire squad behind rooney!! I DONT UNDERSTAND HOW SO MANY PEOLE CAN BE GETTIN ON THE BOYS BACK…..ITS EMBARRASING TO ME.

    As for his form being a little off at the start of season….fair enough, couple oppertunities he shudda passed but didnt. Overall i think hes been more than acceptable tho. ESpeciall when you take in consideration the fact he’s hardly had any bloody game time this season!!

    The critism is plain daft as far as im concerned….I mean can anyone remember ronaldo of 5 4 yrs ago……far more frustrating.

    Park indeed is an industrious player but he aint a patch on the boy Nani.

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  9. realred – I appreciate your comments and I’m not criticising Nani for his talent or suggestion he is a poor player. I just feel that, and please correct me if i’m wrong, he needs to release the ball quicker when we are attacking. He has a superb shot and can deliver a good cross from either a set piece or open play – I just felt that after the Aalborg game I should bring this up as I think he will go onto be a good footballer but is it just me that thinks he needs to release it quicker….I may be wrong?

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  10. The Great says:

    Nani, Nani, Nani: who the heck who think you are???

    He has got so many flaws that I don’t know where to start. Ok, he is fast and has a powerful shot and ……what…that’s it!!!

    First and foremost, I would like to tell all of you to STOP comparing Nani to CR7-saying that Nani is the next Ronaldo, or that Ronaldo too was a showpony in his first season and that Nani will emulate him in the future. Stop dreaming guys. These are two very different cirumstances. When we bought CR7 , he was younger than Nani meaning he got more time to adapt and understand the English game. Besides, CR7 was already highly rated when teenager (much more than Nani). In the first season, Ronaldo was a real disappointment – everytime he got the ball, he tried to do something to stand out of the rest like trying to get past 3 or 4 defenders while there were other players available. He did so many ineffective and unnecessary tricks ( a sign that he is good at dribbling). But, Nani doesn’t show any of these! His dribbling is too slow. Just watch everytime he wants to dribble a player: he comes at rest with the ball and stand for 4 or 5 seconds. Not only this leaves so much time for the defender to place his body well and anticipate his next movement, but it also brings down our momentum and rhythm in going forward leaving the opposition’s defence to re-organise itself and frustrate many of our players. To be a good dribbler, you constantly have to be in motion to unbalance the opponent much as Ronaldinho, Robben, Messi and CR7 (even in his first season) do! This just just can’t dribble. Dribbling is an inner talent and doesn’t come so easily with training.

    Ronaldo is and was faster than Nani, has a better left foot and is much much better in the air. Ronaldo has the steel nerves to bury important penalties and has got his own style of taking freekicks. It would be ridiculous to believe that Nani will imitate him in those fields too. MOST IMPORTANTLY, what everyone seems to forget here, CR7 has gone through the World Cup 2006 incident which has greatly influenced him on and off the pitch. It is almost sure that such an experience will not to reapeat itself with Nani.

    During the game at Chelsea last year (we lost (1-2), he got so many chances to pass the ball, but he didn’t. Instead, he chose to continue running or shoot. One obvious chance was when he chose to shoot rather than to pass to Rooney or Giggs. What was he thinking??? Beating Cech from 40 yards??? His decision making was a joke. He shoots when he has to pass, passes when he should continue to run and shoot, or worse his pass is rubbish.

    Another shortcoming is that whenever he passes tha ball to a team-mate, he stops running and expects the latter to do miracles with the ball by getting past the opponents alone! He never give the team-mate options by sprinting into space, or supporting him once he has passed the ball.He just stand there.

    Sometimes, I think that it’s a mistake to buy him! I really hope I’m wrong, but at the moment I cannot think otherwise. Look at Babel, he was bought at a much lesser price and is proving to be better than Nani. Ribery cost the same for Bayern Munich, and he has already become one of Bayern’s most important players, if not the most important. These two players, Ribery and Babel, are also palying for the first time in a different league. So, the argument that it is Nani’s first season is really not valid.

    I saw in many posts that Nani had a bad game and so do many great players. Granted great players too have bad games, but for Nani’s case that is totally different. When those great players have bad games, either they are not completely in their match, tired, or their mind is elsewhere. Nani didn’t had any of these. One of his WORST flaw is his cocky attitude and his belief that he is above everyone else. I would have forgiven his shot from 40 yards had he turned to Rooney and apologize for his mistake, which surely would have make Rooney left frustrated. Instead, he turned his back on Rooney while the latter was left fuming! Until he he change that bit of “arrogance”, becomes more humble and recognise when he has a mistake, I can’t see a single development from him. Football is a team game Mr Nani, and you should play for the team and not for yourself. There is more pleasure in making your team-mates score rather than scoring yourself.

    I wished Man Utd has bought Ribery because of his winning mentality and other positive qualities, but that doesn’t make me a less Man Utd fan than you all!!! Though, I hope Nani eventually prove to be a better buy than him.

    But really, the thing which annoys me the most is his arrogance. Remember last season when playing West Ham, and that stupid head-butting: Well, when he was sent off, he walked off the field as if he was a f**king hero or something… He did not realise what he did (leave his team-mates on the field for a very important match). If he would have been shaking his head( while walking off), it would have shown you a sign of remorse. But just watch closely his reaction, and then you tell me..

    AND TO REALRED:
    YOU SAID NANI IN HIS FIRST/SECOND SEASON IN NEW COUNTRY AND BLABLABLA…..

    PLease answer this HONESTLY (without any bias). On Current form, who do you think is a better deal Nani or Babel? Bable, who costs Liverpoo much lesser than Nani..

    Worse, we could even have got Ribery too for that amount….Besides, was it not Ribery’s first season in Germany…and still went to win POY there?

    I’m not insulting anyone, I’m just stating my opinion, which is generally the same amongst many United supporters..

    If you want to argue, please do so, but not with insults….

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  11. The Great says:

    *(leave his team-mates on the field with numerical inferiority for a very important match)

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  12. Yolkie says:

    I must say that I don’t think there’s a great deal of difference between Babel and Nani, though Nani to be appears to have two advantages, his dead ball delivery and his ability to strike a ball are both better than Babels, in my opinion. I certainly wouldn’t choose Babel over him, there’s nothing that stands out that we would gain and like I said, two qualities we would lose.

    Ribery is a different kettle of fish, he’s a great player, though I think at the time Fergie signed Nani and Anderson he’d tied up the signings of Rafael and Fabio and the notion very clearly was to instil some Portuguese speaking influence, Latin American style into the dressing room, and Ribery’s age probably came into the equation too.

    It would be foolish to believe every player we buy will go on to be the best in the world, every player is different, but for that reason alone we should be getting behind the lad, and hope he learns sooner rather than later.

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  13. Hakan says:

    Nani is our most frustrating player. He obviously has loads of talent, but too often fails to use it. I particularly like the ability he has to create space for himself. Against Villareal I thought I detected some promising signs. Both his passing and his crosses looked better than I remembered them from last season. Two weeks later in Denmark the weak opposition gave him an opporunity to excel, but he didn’t take it. I’m still optimistic in the long run, but a bit concerned that he might be the player to suffer the most from the departure of Queiroz.

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  14. The Great says:

    Agree with most of the things you said Yolkie, and sure we must get behind him. However, there are times where the lad needs some real stick (be it from the fans, manager or his team-mates themselves). And, now is the right moment to do it…..If he fails to develop and progress, it will be much more difficult at a later age and, in the meantime, it will be bad to worse for our club.

    I really regret that there is not a player like Keane today in Man Utd, who would give Nani a piece of his mind whenever the latter would be greedy, or slowed down our attacking moves, or showed his ‘arrogance’.

    I’m sure then he would have learned much sooner rather than later.

    P.S: Do anyone remember the Bolton game where Berbatov created space and asked the ball from Nani, but he took too much time to pass, and worse went on to shoot from a very tight angle? Berbatov then vented out his frustration by throwing his arms in the air…..

    Certainly, we are now not the only ones who feels Nani really need to improve BIG time!

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  15. realred says:

    stretty ranter i agree with you that recently anyways he’s been holding on to the ball for too long.

    I just cxant see where people get off ( “The Great”) implying Nani is trying to copy Ronaldo? what coz theyr portugese? Their both flair players with different attributes. As far as im concerned Nani is and undoubtedly will be the better of the two players.
    His style is more fluent. Ronaldo can be so one dimensional at times it pains me. Everyone seems to be forgettin that Ronaldo is the one that rarely provided goals for rest of the team. HES THE GREEDIER of the two players far as i can see. In his first season NANI MADE MORE ASSISTS Than ronado hasin 2/3 seasons combined!!

    GREAT ONE: How can you bring up nerve when taking penalties…….You must have forgotten ronaldos missed pen in Moscow while Nani sunk his!!??

    Finally, all this nani hating has sprung from the boys ginuine desire to succeed and improve as a player. Soon As he becomes more comfortable/ secure in his surrounding he wont feel the need to constantly impress or take on unneccasery shots etc.

    He’s just trying too hard, thats all

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  16. […] to stick to my initial views – which could actually make me slightly narrow minded. However, my earlier criticism of Nani was shared by many Reds and obviously Sir Alex Ferguson, who keep him out of the first team for a while. Coming back into […]

  17. […] we backed Fletcher in July ’08, February ’09, and September ’09; and Nani in October ’08, January ’10, and March ’10. We even pushed the idea of playing a 4-3-3 in bigger games […]

  18. […] we backed Fletcher in July ’08, February ’09, and September ’09; and Nani in October ’08, January ’10, and March ’10. We even pushed the idea of playing a 4-3-3 in bigger games […]

  19. […] regular readers of the blog will know that I grew frustrated at Nani’s progress since his impressive debut season in 2007/08. We were linked […]

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