Cristiano Ronaldo made team-mates at Manchester United “allergic to defeat”, says Nani, with the Portuguese forward’s relentless pursuit of perfection rubbing off on those around him.
The Red Devils plucked a rough diamond away from Sporting in the summer of 2003, with Sir Alex Ferguson impressed by the potential in a wiry teenage winger.
The legendary United boss would polish Ronaldo into a global superstar, with the needless tricks and theatrics removed from his game as he was morphed into a powerful goal-scoring machine.
By the time he left for Real Madrid in 2009, an all-time great already had a Ballon d’Or to his name and an enviable haul of collective honours – including three Premier League titles and a Champions League crown.
Nani had joined a fellow countryman in England during the summer window of 2007, with the same path taken from Sporting, and he admits to having been turned into a winner by a superstar colleague.
On his arrival at Old Trafford and early experiences in what would be an eight-year spell, Nani told the Players’ Tribune: “Not many mentioned Manchester United. But my agent, Jorge Mendes, wrote down the names of all the clubs and said, 'For me, the best team you can choose is this one'. He pointed at Man Utd.
“Before I knew it, I was looking for a house in Manchester.
“At the start I was supposed to move into a hotel, but Jorge asked me 'Would you mind staying with Cristiano?'
“So I moved in with him and Anderson, who had just arrived at Man Utd.
“Cristiano had a swimming pool, a ping-pong table, a tennis court — and every day we would compete at something.
“By the time Anderson and I left that house, we had become allergic to defeat.”
Ronaldo was not the only big character to help shape Nani into becoming a senior star himself, with there plenty of advice to be found in a star-studded squad.
Nani, who is now on the books of MLS side Orlando City, added: “Sir Alex was like a father to me. Guys like Rio Ferdinand and Ryan Giggs gave me so much good advice.
“I became friends with Antonio Valencia, Fabio and Rafael, Cristiano, Anderson and many others.”
During his time with United, Nani took in 230 appearances and helped the Red Devils to four Premier League titles, a Champions League triumph and Club World Cup success.