Nani Signs 5-Year Contract to Remain at Manchester United

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 5, 2013

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 05:  Nani of Manchester United celebrates after Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid scored an own goal during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Second leg match between Manchester United and Real Madrid at Old Trafford on March 5, 2013 in Manchester, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Manchester United and Nani have reached an agreement on a five-year contract extension that will run through the end of the 2017-18 campaign, the club announced on Twitter.

Mark Froggatt of United's official site passed along comments from the winger after signing the new long-term deal. He called his time with the club a "fantastic experience" and is happy with how David Moyes has treated him since taking over.

"Playing at United has been a fantastic experience for me. When I came to the Club, I never imagined the success we have enjoyed. Training every day with top players who want to win trophies every year is a great motivation to me. I'm very happy that the new manager has shown this faith in me and I'm looking forward to helping the team compete for more honours this season."

Nani joined Manchester United amid plenty of hype in 2007. After emerging as a rising star with Sporting Lisbon, he moved to Old Trafford, where he was expected to become a key element of the club's attack for years to come.

While there have been stretch when that's certainly been the case, the 26-year-old Portugal international has never reached the remarkable heights once thought possible. He's been a very good player at times, but rarely the elite player United was hoping for.

Part of the problem was those initial sky-high expectations, which put plenty of pressure on him from the outset. At the same time, he wasn't able to match the potential he showcased before joining the Premier League club.

That said, the contract extension shows United still believes he can be a valuable piece of the squad moving forward. His combination of pace and creativity remains an asset, just not at the level United likely expected originally.

Nani made his first appearance of the new campaign last weekend. He came off the bench in a 1-0 loss to Liverpool, creating one of the club's best chances of the match, but failed to beat Reds goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.

Now that the extension is signed, he can focus on finding a role within the squad and proving he was worth the long-term investment for Manchester United.