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Top 5: Nani goals for Manchester United

by Sam Peoples

With a move to Fenerbahce now confirmed, Nani’s time at Manchester United has come to an end.

A player who was signed for £17 million as a 20 year-old, the Portuguese star went on to score 41 goals for the club in what was a trophy laden career.

There might not have been many players more frustrating than Nani simply because he squandered so many chances but when he hit it on the sweet spot, no goalkeeper stood a chance.

With that in mind, we’ve decided to give our take on Nani’s best five goals in a Man United shirt to remind us of what he could do when on-form.

5: vs Manchester City, 12 February 2011 (Premier League)

In a match made famous for Wayne Rooney’s match-winning overhead kick, Nani was arguably the star man for Man United. The Portuguese provided the assist for that goal after scoring a fine opener himself.

After Ryan Giggs picked up the ball in central midfield, he played a high through ball with pace towards the onrushing Nani, who made his run inside from the right wing. The pass wasn’t the best but he plucked the ball out of the air with a sublime piece of control and was through on goal.

That took the defender out of the game and, after one further touch, Nani rolled the ball into the bottom right corner with a neat left-footed finish.

4: vs. Liverpool, 23 March 2008 (Premier League)

Heading into the final 15 minutes of the match, Man United held a 1-0 lead over fierce rivals Liverpool in a tense affair. But when Nani was introduced on 73 minutes, he provided such an impact that the score-line would look comfortable by the end of the game.

After setting up the second goal from a corner on 79 minutes, the Portuguese deepened his impact soon after. When he received the ball deep in the opposition half, he gave the ball to Wayne Rooney coming inside from the left.

Rooney played a clever reverse pass back to Nani, who had continued his run down the left, before his amazing touch inside took two defenders out of the game. He then fired the ball back across goal and into the bottom left corner, with the game well and truly finished.

3: vs. Bayern Munich, 7 April 2010 (Champions League)

With Man United trailing 2-1 coming into this quarter-final second leg, the home side needed a big performance to progress. In the end it wasn’t to be, though Nani was one player that certainly stepped up to the occasion in this match.

Darron Gibson’s early strike looked like it wouldn’t be bettered on the night but Nani quickly upstaged it.

Antonio Valencia was teasing his opponent down the right wing whilst Nani made a run inside from the opposite flank, and the Ecuadorian fired in a dangerous low cross.

It looked as though it would surpass everyone in the area- but for a brilliant piece of improvisation from Nani. What a goal it was.

2: vs. Arsenal, 31 January 2010 (Premier League)

Nani had previously made a mockery of Arsenal in a 2009 FA Cup tie with his showboating and his sensational skills played a large part in this strike too.

A loose pass out to the right wing had Nani chasing it as he drew in two Arsenal players down that flank. He held onto the ball near the byline, with Arsenal players nearby unable to make a challenge, before an extravagant flick bought him space inside the box.

He then danced past another Arsenal defender and sent an audacious chip over the flailing Almunia.

It would have been ranked as Nani’s best goal but for uncertainty- did he mean it and was it a cross or a shot?

1: vs. Tottenham Hotspur, 26 August 2007 (Premier League)

With the score locked at 0-0 and 65 minutes on the clock, Man United were heading for a fourth successive match without victory. Having scored only once in the previous three matches, there was a clear lack of cutting edge in Sir Alex Ferguson’s side.

What better way then, for new signing Nani to introduce himself to the Old Trafford crowd than score the match-winner? He picked the ball up deep in Spurs’ half, facing his own goal when looking for a team-mate.

With not many options in sight, Nani quickly turned, took a touch forward and unleashed a thunderous strike into top left corner of the net.

Then came the iconic roar of the Stretford End and Man United’s No.17 provided a celebration to match, unveiling himself to the home faithful. His sensational backflip was almost as good as the strike itself.

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