Nani insists there’s no better motivation to score a goal for Sporting Lisbon than a game against Arsenal, particularly given his history with Manchester United.
Arsenal face Sporting on Thursday, looking to keep their perfect run in this season’s competition going. Follow the link for betting sites, to put money on them doing so. It should be a great game, the Gunners’ first real chance to make a mark as contenders for the trophy.
Ahead of Arsenal’s trip to Portugal, Nani spoke to the media about his memories facing them with Manchester United. The winger has always had a good record in those games, winning seven of nine, and he obviously has particularly fond memories of the 8-2 at Old Trafford.
“I remember perfectly this game and that result,” he told the UEFA website. “It was a memorable game and afternoon for United and fans. We scored a lot of goals and we played good football. I remember very well all the games I did against Arsenal.
“But we know that Arsenal are a great club and always have good teams. They haven’t achieved their goals, to win the Premier League, the cups, but it is always an opponent to take into account, which has big stars and very difficult to play.”
On a personal note, Nani insists he’s always ready to score goals, especially in this kind of game.
“I am always ready [to score],” he added. “There is no better motivation than participating in this type of games. I am always ready, but whether it will be possible, I do not know. I will give the best and in the game, we will see.”
Nani joined Sporting from Valencia over the summer, having spent last season on loan at Lazio, and he’s been in good form so far this season.
The left-winger doesn’t have a goal in the Europa League yet, but he got an assist against Qarabag in their group opener. In all competitions, he’s up to four goals and four assists in nine appearances, including scoring against Portuguese league leaders Benfica. Still just 31 years old, Nani clearly isn’t past his best just yet.
It’s not Nani’s first spell with the club. He initially came through their youth ranks in 2005, spending a couple of years with the first team before joining Manchester United. Then he went back on loan for a season in 2014, before leaving United for Fenerbahce.
It’s up to Arsenal to make sure his permanent return to Portugal doesn’t have a fairytale ending.