Portugal winger Nani says signing a long-term contract with Manchester United three years ago was the “worst” moment of his life.
Nani, who joined Spanish side Valencia this summer, signed a new five-year contract at Old Trafford in September 2013 after David Moyes replaced Sir Alex Ferguson.
The former Sporting Lisbon man – who won four Premier League titles, the Champions League, and two League Cups at United – went on to make only seven starts in the league that season, as the club slumped to seventh.
“It could have been the best moment of my life but it turned into the worst,” Nani told The Guardian.
“After you sign a contract like that, you think all the people will be behind you and help you. And you see the opposite.
“Then the stress comes. I was down and, when it’s like that, of course, the injuries come too. It was a bad moment. It was something that made me very down, very disappointed.”
Moyes was subsequently sacked, and although Louis van Gaal was keen to keep the attacker, a failure to guarantee first-team football saw Nani rejoin Sporting Lisbon on loan, before leaving the next summer for Fenerbache on a permanent basis.
“He [Van Gaal] told me that, if I wanted to stay to fight for a position, then good but I would not be his first option or maybe even the second,” he added.
“I said: ‘No. I have been here for many years, I have been very important to this club and I think it’s time to decide.’ I wanted to play every game in the starting XI.”