Ex-Manchester United star Nani relishing partnership with Nigerian attacker in Italy

The former Portuguese international returned to Europe in January three years after leaving for the MLS, and he is bracing up for a different kind of challenge

Ex-Manchester United winger Luís Carlos Almeida da Cunha, commonly known as Nani, has talked up his potential partnership with Venezia’s exciting strikers, including Nigerian forward David Okereke.

Nani moved to Venezia on a free transfer after inking a year-and-half deal on January 14, ending his 35-month association with Major League Soccer side Orlando.

The 35-year-old previously starred for the likes of Sporting Lisbon, Manchester United, Lazio, Valencia, and Fenerbahce – clubs regularly playing for their respective league titles or appearing in the UEFA Champions League. 

But Venezia are a different class apart, with the Winged Lions battling to avoid relegation just months after securing promotion to the Italian Serie A. The Orange-Black-Greens finished 5th in Serie B last term but secured their top-flight status through the playoffs.

Paolo Zanetti’s men have barely managed to keep their heads above troubled waters, sitting just a point above the relegation zone in 17th.

Nigerian forward Okereke is one reason why Venezia still has a fighting chance, with the Club Brugge loanee contributing a joint-high five league goals. Fellow forward Mattia Aramu also has five goals, while Frenchman Thomas Henry has netted four times.

Nani has been brought in to provide more ammunition for the strikers to work with. And the four-time English Premier League winner cannot wait to link up with his colleagues once he attains full fitness.

“I have a lot of experience; maybe I can make more use of goal-scoring opportunities for my teammates,” Nani said, as per Walfoot.

“I’m not at my best, I know, I lack training, but I’m already in better form. I know this team needs to score goals, and I’m here to score and especially to assist Okereke, Henry, Johnsen, and the others. I’ve seen the team play a bit, and I think we have good players.”

Nani has already featured twice for Venezia since his winter switch. He needed just a couple of minutes to provide the assist in his side’s 1-1 draw at home to Empoli on January 16, before seeing eight minutes of action in the 2-1 defeat at Inter Milan six days later.

The Winged Lions will be seeking their first league win since November when they trade tackles with Napoli today, Sunday, February 6.

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