Nani has admitted that he was initially “scared” of Sir Alex Ferguson, revealing that the former Manchester United boss once nearly “killed” him and Ryan Giggs in front of their team-mates.
The former Portugal international, who Sir Alex brought to United from Sporting Lisbon in 2007 for £23m, scored 40 goals and registered 73 assists in 230 games during his eight-year stay at Old Trafford.
Speaking to the UTD Podcast, Nani provided a unique insight into how Ferguson’s expertise and man-management helped him become used to playing football in the English top-flight.
He said: “At the beginning, I was very scared of him. Like a father, you know? To make a mistake or do something wrong. But I was scared of him until I learned to understand and was able to express myself.”
The winger added he used to occasionally travel alone with Sir Alex on the way to and from training and matches. “He was my neighbour and we used to go to London by train,” Nani recalled.
“But the day I took him home was after a game against Fulham away, and I was on the bench. I was playing unbelievable with a lot of confidence. We won a penalty and it was Ryan Giggs who took the penalties. I felt confident and Giggs didn’t say anything. I took the penalty and I missed.
“The penalty should make it 3-2. We are going back home that day and I say, ‘Boss, I can take you home’. I drove him back home and he didn’t talk to me in the car! In the dressing room, he killed me! He said, ‘Nani, who do you think you are? Who gave you permission to take the penalty?! Ryan!’
“And then he killed Ryan Giggs, because he said, ‘Ryan, why did you let him take the penalty!’ Ryan said, ‘He grabbed the ball and I let him.’ Oh my god, that day was incredible. I took him home and I felt very uncomfortable driving home.”
Nani played 230 games and scored 40 goals and made 73 assists for the club between 2007-2015, and won 12 trophies including four Premier League titles.