ORLANDO, Fla. (Feb. 18, 2019) - Orlando City SC has agreed to a deal with Portuguese club Sporting CP for the free transfer of four-time Premier League Champion and Portuguese international Nani (Na-NEE). Nani joins Orlando City SC on a three-year contract as a Designated Player.
“This is an exciting day for our organization,” said Orlando City SC EVP of Soccer Operations Luiz Muzzi. “Nani brings tremendous experience to our roster. He’s a dynamic winger with quality abilities to move and cross the ball, impact games and lead the offensive play.”
Nani, 32, began his senior career with Sporting CP in Lisbon, Portugal, in 2005 as a teenager. In three seasons, Nani made 58 appearances, tallying nine goals. His start at Sporting CP led to Nani being sold to Manchester United for €25.5 million where he would play alongside fellow countryman, Cristiano Ronaldo.
At Manchester United, Nani scored in his first two preseason matches for the Red Devils against Shenzhen and Guangzhou Pharmaceutical. Nani made his Premier League debut as a substitute for Wayne Rooney on Aug. 12, 2007.
Nani scored his first Premier League goal for Manchester United in unforgettable fashion. In the 68th minute against Tottenham Hotspur, Nani launched an attempt from 25 yards out and buried it in the back of the net, proving to be the game-winner for Manchester United.
Major League Soccer (MLS) got a glimpse of Nani while the Portuguese winger was in the Premiership, as Manchester United visited the States to play in the MLS All-Star Game in 2011.
Nani finished his tenure with Manchester United in 2014. Overall with the Red Devils, Nani won four Premier League titles, two League Cups and a UEFA Champions League crown in 2008. In total, Nani made 230 appearances for Manchester United across all competitions, recording 41 goals.
In 2014, Nani returned to Sporting CP on a season-long loan from Manchester United. During the season, Nani appeared in 37 matches across all competitions, scoring 12 goals.
Since the start of the 2015 campaign, Nani has appeared for Fenerbahçe, Valencia and Lazio on loan. With those three clubs, Nani appeared in 98 total matches across all competitions, recording 20 goals. This past season, Nani returned to Sporting CP where he played in 28 total matches and finding the back of the net eight times.
At the international level Nani has been a mainstay for Portugal throughout the years. In total the winger has made 112 appearances, scoring 24 goals. Nani was in the Starting XI for Portugal in the opening match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup against Germany.
Against the United States in the 2014 World Cup, Nani scored the opening goal in the fifth minute of the match, in a contest that ultimately resulted in a 2-2 draw.
Nani played a critical role that saw Portugal claim the UEFA Euro 2016 Final. Nani played the entire match in the 2016 Final, in a contest that saw Portugal defeat France 1-0 after 120 minutes.
TRANSACTION: Orlando City SC signs winger Nani to a three-year contract via free transfer from Portuguese club Sporting CP.
Name: Nani (na-NEE)
Weight: 146 lbs
Born: November 17, 1986 in Praia, Cape Verde
Hometown: Amadora, Portugal
Citizenship: Portugal, Cape Verde