Former Manchester United forward Nani says that Alex Fergsuon was “like a father” to him during his time at Old Trafford.
The 29-year-old, who captained Portugal to victory in the Euro 2016 final against France following an injury to Cristiano Ronaldo, ended his eight-year association with United in 2015 when he sealed a move to Turkish giants Fenerbahce, though he had spent the previous season on loan at former club Sporting Lisbon.
Following his exploits during his country’s European Championship-winning campaign, Nani secured a move to Valencia – who kick-off their La Liga season against Las Palmas on Monday.
But speaking to The Guardian, the winger reflected with fond memories on his time playing in the Premier League, and revealed his respect for Ferguson.
“United gave me all that I have in this life,” Nani said. “I see him [Ferguson] like a father, angry and shouting at you one minute but in the next, patting his hand on your head and saying: ‘Come on, son’.
“It was hard to deal with at first, because you don’t know him and his strong ways but when you know him, you learn it is for your benefit. If today I have a strong mentality, it’s a lot to do with him.
“Maybe I could have played more games but the routine at that club, especially under Ferguson, was to alternate the players.
“Everyone was part of the team. I played in big games and I played in not so big games. I played in finals. I had fantastic performances and I had not so great performances. This is football.
“What I have in my mind is just the great moments I had in Manchester; the fantastic goals that I scored against top teams. It’s what my friends remember and it’s what the fans remember when they write to me. They don’t remember the bad things.”