Nani: "In the dressing room he killed me! He said, 'Nani, who do you think you are? Who gave you permission to take the penalty?!'... I took him home and I felt very uncomfortable driving home."
Monday 18 May 2020 11:14, UK
Nani has lifted the lid on his relationship with Sir Alex Ferguson, admitting that he was "very scared" of the Manchester United boss during the early part of his spell at Old Trafford.
The former Portugal international, who Sir Alex brought to United from Sporting Lisbon in 2007 for £23m, got 40 goals and 73 assists in 230 games during his eight-year stay at Old Trafford.
Speaking to the UTD Podcast, Nani provided a unique insight into how Ferguson's expertise and man-management helped him become used to playing football in the English top-flight.
He said: "At the beginning, I was very scared of him. Like a father, you know? To make a mistake or do something wrong.
"But I was scared of him until I learned to understand and was able to express myself.
"My English has never been perfect or is going to be, but at that time it was worse than now and when he found I could speak more with him, he started coming to me and giving me more attention.
"And from then, I learned more about Sir Alex Ferguson. What he wanted to do, who he was and the relationship started to be better."
Whilst becoming accustomed to life as a United player, the winger reveals he used to occasionally travel alone with Sir Alex on the way to and from training and matches.
"He was my neighbour and we used to go to London by train," Nani recalled.
"His wife or his family used to leave him in the train station so on the way back he has no driver to take him so he was looking for someone who lives close to him to give him a ride.
"So I said, 'OK boss, I'll take you home!' But the day I took him home was after a game against Fulham away, and I was on the bench.
"I was playing unbelievable with a lot of confidence. We won a penalty and it was Ryan Giggs who took the penalties. I felt confident and Giggs didn't say anything. I took the penalty and I missed.
"The penalty should make it 3-2. We are going back home that day and I say, 'Boss, I can take you home'. I drove him back home and he didn't talk to me in the car!
"In the dressing room, he killed me! He said, 'Nani, who do you think you are? Who gave you permission to take the penalty?! Ryan!'
"And then he killed Ryan Giggs, because he said, 'Ryan, why did you let him take the penalty!' Ryan said, 'He grabbed the ball and I let him.'
"Oh my god, that day was incredible. I took him home and I felt very uncomfortable driving home.
"He [Ferguson] is a man who knows how to manage all characters, all different ages, all different personalities.
"My personality in that time, I was young, and not easy. I know that and I learned a lot, I changed a lot. That is life. You must learn."