Luis Carlos Almeida da Cunha, commonly known as Nani, is a Portuguese football player who currently features for Spanish La Liga side Valencia. He predominantly plays as a winger but is also used as a forward.
Having started his career as a boy with Real Massama in Portugal, Nani soon caught the eye of Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon, who promptly signed him up to their youth team. He was promoted to the first team upon impressing in the National Junior Championship of 2004-05.
Nani made his senior debut for Sporting in a UEFA Champions League fixture against Udinese at home. Sporting would go on to lose the contest by a solitary goal. He made his premiership debut on August 28, 2005 in a 2-1 away win over Maritimo. His first goal at senior level arrived on October 30 when he opened the scoring in a 2-2 draw at Boavista. His first campaign at senior level with Sporting yielded five goals in 36 appearances across all competitions.
In his second season at Lisbon, Nani scored a total of six goals in 40 league appearances. It was also the season in which he helped his side win the Portuguese Cup. His overall performances earned him a 25.5 million euro move to English Premier League giants Manchester United in June 2007.
Although he was capable of producing some spectacular moments on the football pitch, his time at Manchester United was largely underwhelming as he never realized his true potential. Having joined the club as a promising winger, it was expected that the winger would go on to be just as good as his compatriot, Cristiano Ronaldo. However, it was not to be.
The player put in an inspired performance against Arsenal in the FA Cup Fourth Round on February 16, 2008 when he scored a goal and two assists in a 4-0 win. The match also saw the winger get in an altercation with then Arsenal captain William Gallas, who claimed that the Portuguese was showboating on the pitch. Arsene Wenger also made his displeasure felt in the post-match press-conference as well.
Again on March 23, Nani came on as a substitute in a 3-0 win over arch-rivals Liverpool. He set up the crucial second goal in the 79th minute before sealing the contest two minutes later with a well taken goal in the 81st minute.
His first taste of regular football at United came in the 2009-10 season following the sale of Ronaldo to Real Madrid. The season saw him bag seven goals from 34 appearances including two goals in a scintillating Champions League game against Bayern Munich. The Bavarian giants had won the tie on away goals after it ended 4-4. It was also the season in which he signed a new four-year-deal for the club.