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ARTS, EDUCATION and ENTERTAINMENTS => EDUCATION => SPORTS => Topic started by: furtune on April 30, 2008, 07:27:09 PM

Title: How parents' divorce almost ruined Nani's career
Post by: furtune on April 30, 2008, 07:27:09 PM
"How many of my games have you seen? Do you not watch the matches?" Nani, ever so slightly spiky, is keen to make one thing clear. He?s definitely not too a lightweight for the Premier League. Yet, suggesting to him that he might be is unreasonable.

At 5ft 9in and weighing a little over 10 stones, he?s hardly the most physically imposing player. Previous club, Sporting Lisbon, even prioritized bulking him up when he joined them from Real Massama.

Their coach, Francisco Janelas, however, is on record as saying that he knew Nani was going to be a "phenomenon" even if he was "thin and skinny."
The Portuguese winger dismisses the idea that success may be harder to come by against the behemoth defenders of English football.

"The game is a lot quicker in England and more competitive than in Portugal," he tells FFT. "You?ve got to be in good form to stand up to it. I might not be the biggest, but I can handle myself. You came up against strong footballers and it?s more difficult in the one-on-ones. But I?ve worked hard and I?m feeling very good. I?m adapting well, beginning to feel better and better on the pitch. I?m always thinking about getting out there. I?ve stood up to the test. So, not being so big hasn?t been a major issue."

There is clearly an element of defiance to the 21-year-old, a certainty behind his softly spoken diffidence. It was embodied in his outstanding performance in the 4?0 demolition of Arsenal in the FA Cup fifth round, when he created two goals and scored another. Wayne Rooney was Man of the Match, but Nani pushed his teammate close despite the differences in build.

As Motty declared: "One of the lessons we?ve learnt is that Nani is going to develop into a real Manchester United player." Nani expertly collected a Michael Carrick lob into the box with his right foot and swiveled to hook goal past Jens Lehman with his left for the goal. There ensued the now customary summersault back-flip celebration, virtually from a standing start on this occasion, but most revealing was the way he exuded an impassive Eric Cantona-like hauteur when mobbed by impressed teammates. It was as if he was saying he had just proven he belonged.

He crosses for the two Darren Fletcher goals that were pinpoint accurate after he twice outmaneuvered the hapless Justin Hoyte. By the end of the match, Nani was the toast of Old Trafford and the scourge of the Gunners. William Gallas almost butted him with his Mohawk for showboating. He ?seal? stunt, carrying the ball on his head, even drew criticism from Arsene Wenger, so he must have been doing something right. Perhaps, it was simply that the margin of victory was so comfortable, the game so utterly dead that it didn?t seem appropriate to open the box of party tricks or maybe he figured Arsenal had not tried hard enough to warrant deference.

Four days later, Nani?s arrival as a half-time substitute helped to turn around a 1?0 deficit against Lyon in the first leg of the last 16 of the Champions League. Nani?s Beckhamesque cross caused chaos in the home side?s penalty box, leading to Carlos Tevez?s equaliser. The new Ronaldo had well and truly arrived.

Luis Carlos Almeda da cu*ta, to give Nani his full name, was born on the Portuguese island colony of Cape Verde, off the west coast of Africa. The family later moved to Amadora, a district on the outskirts of Lisbon, where he was brought up by his mother and his aunt and was mates with Everton midfielder, Manuel Fernandes ("it?s great we live close to each other now too"). His parent?s divorce affected the football-mad youngster, but his mum reportedly told him he would no longer feel "sad and distressed" when he became a well-known footballer.

Aged eight, he joined Massama, who snared a ?850,000 windfall for their role in his development when the ?14 million United deal went through in May last year. Massama coach, Hernani Fonseca recalls that Nani was so utterly obsessed with the game that rather than sleep with a ?teddy bear or a toy like any other boy? he would go to bed with a football.

"It was something like that," Nani cautiously admits. "When I used to get home from training I would usually have a ball with me so I would sit down with it on the sofa and curl up. At Massama, I hoped that one day I would achieve my dream of lighting up the world of football by hard work, effort and dedication, making the most of my chances. And here I am."

Nani was a Porto supporter as a boy despite going on to sign for Sporting Lisbon and Fonseca remembers that he and another future Portuguese Premier League import to the club, Ricardo Vaz Te, currently at Bolton, would rarely stop talking about the Dragons. Nani, though makes sure he pays his allegiance to Sporting, who launched him into big time. "Yes, my brother was a Porto fan and so was I when I was younger," he says. "I used to follow them, it?s true. Not for a long time, because Sporting got into my heart when I moved there."

The Massama president realised Nani was a bit special ("we noticed his potential when he was about 11, he had an ease on the ball and a way of moving") and alerted Aurelio Pereira, Sporting?s highly regarded youth coach responsible for tutoring the likes of fellow wingers like Luis Figo, Simao Sabrossa, Luis Boa Morte, Hugo Viana, Ricardo Quaresma and Ronaldo. The Lions wasted no time in snapping him up.

Nani progressed through the same feted youth system at Sporting?s sophisticated training complex as his illustrious green and white hoped predecessors. He was promoted to the first team at the start of the 2005/06 season, when Paulo Bento stepped in as coach following the resignation of Jose Pesseiro.
Bento, a former Sporting defender and Portugal international, is an instrumental figure in Nani?s history, he had coached Nani at youth level and, unlike Peseiro, trusted in his ability enough to throw him in at the deep-end. Nani responded to the challenge, scoring two goals in as many games at the start of the campaign.

"I learnt lots from Bento," Nani remembers. "Plenty about discipline, how to position myself on the pitch, as he put a lot of emphasis on this part of the game and was very rigorous about it. It was more important to him than the fancy stuff. He used to pull me up because I had my head in the clouds initially. It?s normal when you are only 17 or 18 years old to have your head in the clouds, isn?t it? There was always something he wanted to advise me on. If I was late for breakfast or if I didn?t even make it to breakfast because I overslept. If I was wearing a cap, he would tell that I had to rake it off. He gave me a chance and I took it. Paulo?s been the coach who has influenced me most."
Title: Re: How parents' divorce almost ruined Nani's career
Post by: i.bellagardner on December 19, 2011, 03:10:37 AM
Very true! That's how divorce can affect the child.
Title: Re: How parents' divorce almost ruined Nani's career
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