Football: Nani makes moves to win at Valencia

Portuguese forward Luis Nani (left) performing the capoeira, a Brazilian martial art incorporating dance and music, during his presentation as a new player of Valencia held at the Mestalla stadium.
Portuguese forward Luis Nani (left) performing the capoeira, a Brazilian martial art incorporating dance and music, during his presentation as a new player of Valencia held at the Mestalla stadium.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

VALENCIA • Nani, who was recently crowned European champion with Portugal, wants to help bring the good times back to his new club Valencia.

The Spanish side struggled last season and ended the Primera Liga campaign with just 44 points and in 12th place, their worst finish in three decades.

Valencia, owned by Singaporean Peter Lim, have paid Fenerbahce Nani's €8.5 million (S$12.7 million) buyout clause and he has moved to Spain on a three-year deal.

Valencia president Chan Lay Hoon told The Straits Times: "Signing Nani has brought a lot of excitement to our fans. He has always entertained wherever he has played and it will be no different at the Mestalla.

"Many of our fans followed him very closely in the last Euro and are looking forward to him bringing to Valencia the same high level of play and commitment he had displayed for Portugal. And as a senior player, he will help to provide leadership in a young team."

Nani was equally excited at his unveiling at the Mestalla, which was attended by 12,000 fans and involved the player making some pretty sweet capoeira moves on the pitch.

The 29-year-old said: "People think that, when you win an important championship, you relax.

"But that is not my thinking. I'm very eager. This is a big club, with great fans. My aim is to contribute in the best possible way, to help in every game I play and try to achieve our aims."

Valencia are accustomed to finishing high in the standings and playing in Europe. But their disappointing 2015-16 campaign has meant they will not play in a continental competition this season.

"It's normal that big clubs in the world go through bad years. The same has happened to Valencia. We hope to return the club to the level they deserve soon," said Nani.

Portugal's Euro 2016 final triumph over hosts France is still at the front of Nani's thoughts.

"The European Championship was a unique experience; we made history," he said.

"It was a dream come true and now I'm delighted because I have a new chapter to look forward to, with new aims to achieve.

"Valencia is the best option for me. It's an ideal club for me to be happy and prove my level. I wanted to play in La Liga."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 16, 2016, with the headline 'Nani makes moves to win at Valencia'. Print Edition | Subscribe