Orlando City signs former Man United winger Nani as designated player

Leagues, Major League Soccer, Nani, Orlando City SC, Story, Transfers
With MLS stars grabbing the attention of clubs overseas, the ESPN FC panel assess how the league is viewed in Europe.

Former Manchester United winger Nani has become the latest 30-plus star to join Major League Soccer after a career in Europe, agreeing to a three-year contract with Orlando City.

On Feb. 15, ESPN FC sources reported the deal was in its final stages and on Monday Orlando announced that Nani had been given a free transfer from Portugal’s Sporting Lisbon. He will be listed as a designated player and will only count partially against the team’s salary cap.

“This is an exciting day for our organization,” Luiz Muzzi, Orlando City’s executive vice-president of Soccer Operations, said in a statement on the club website.

“Nani brings tremendous experience to our roster. He’s a dynamic winger with quality abilities to move and cross the ball, impact games and lead the offensive play.”

Nani made his Premier League debut as a substitute for Wayne Rooney on Aug. 12, 2007 and remained with United until 2014, making 230 appearances in all competitions, while scoring 41 goals.

In 2014, Nani returned to Sporting on loan and has since played for Fenerbahce, Valencia and Lazio before returning to the Portuguese club in July last year, playing 28 games and scoring eight times.

“Sporting Clube de Portugal… appreciates the services provided and wishes Luis ‘Nani’ the greatest personal and professional success,” Sporting said on their website.

Nani helped Portugal win the 2016 European Championship — taking the armband from Cristiano Ronaldo after he was injured — and was a member of their 2014 World Cup squad. He has been capped 112 times, scoring 24 goals for his country.

Nani won four Premier League titles and the 2008 Champions League with Manchester United.

Information from Reuters and the Associated Press was used in this story.

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