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Before he contributed to the equalizing goal against New York on Saturday, Luís Carlos Almeida da Cunha, otherwise known as “Nani,” was the Lions’ newest transfer from the club Sporting CP.
Nani has been a winger with the Portuguese National team since 2006, and he played with Manchester United from 2007 until 2014. After that, he was sent to Portugal’s Sporting CP and then played for Turkish side Fenerbahçe, Valencia in La Liga, and Italian Serie A side Lazio before returning to Sporting in July 2018.
Nani made his name in Manchester United where he won both the English Premier League and the Champions League with the Red Devils.
Nani also played three times at the FIFA World Cup
s and in three UEFA European Championships with Portugal. In 2016m Nani won the UEFA European Championship with his home nation.
How did this deal happen? Orlando City executive vice president of soccer operations Luiz Muzzi said the deal to get Nani to Orlando City was a product of “the goodwill of a lot of people and because of the wish of the player.”
The decision to both Orlando and Sporting, since the latter is dealing with serious financial issues and could not handle Nani’s contract any longer. Sporting didn’t want him to leave, but given the situation, it had to listen to offers from abroad and respect Nani’s decision.
When Kakȧ, the Brazilian superstar who headlined the Lions’ inaugural season, left in 2017, so too left a playmaker who could create chances and score goals in Orlando. But now Nani is Orlando, and he can definitely do what Kaká used to do or even more so because Nani is an attacking type of player which means he could score more goals and he can assist also.
With Nani they bring someone with experience; something that Orlando doesn’t really have. Orlando has a young team that they’re trying to grow and now they have someone they can look up to and learn from.
Nani is a good crosser; a skill that hasn’t always been present for the Lions until former Orlando City player Yoshimar Yotún joined. Now with Yotún’s departure, Orlando needed someone that can cross and assist like Yotún. Nani should definitely be able to replace Yotún assists from last season and even add more goal scoring threat than Yotún did.
As the season goes on, Nani should provide valuable support on the attack as Orlando City eyes their first playoff berth in franchise history.