Nani says he felt Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand all disliked him initially after signing for Manchester United.
Speaking to the UTD Podcast about his early days and the perception from senior figures in the squad at the time, the Portuguese winger explained: “My personality at that time, I was young and it was not easy. I learned a lot and I changed a lot, because that is life. You must learn.
“It was so important for me to have Giggs, Scholes and Rio Ferdinand. They were there every time to teach me and telling me things. At the time, I didn’t understand what they were saying to me. I thought they didn’t like me.
“Or they were mad at me because things didn’t go well. But they saw a lot of potential in me. They saw it in the training. They believed a lot in me.
“After two of three years there I started to listen a lot more and tried to do [what they were telling me]. It’s one thing to listen and one thing to try to do what they say. I tried to do what they were saying to me.”
Although it’s difficult to replicate figures like Giggs, Scholes and Ferdinand — all once in a lifetime players — current manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, needs to build the right environment at Old Trafford to help his young players in such a way.
Giggs worked closely with Nani to help improve his game. The winger added: “Giggs taught me. We were playing in the same position. He said: ‘Nani, you know when you get a defender who mark strong and always on you, you cannot turn because they will be ready to get the ball from you.
“Wait a little and change, sometimes you stay inside and stay long. Take your time and you will be free. He taught me a lot of things and how to make runs in behind. I would listen and try to do.”
Of course senior players are going to be tough of the new guy. Nani was new to the league and as far as they were concerned, he’d done nothing and had to show his worth over time at United.
Nani did that, although under a Cristiano Ronaldo cloud which is very unfair, and he’s currently captain of Major League Soccer outfit Orlando City.