Orlando City announces Nani as latest Designated Player

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Photo courtesy of Orlando City SC

Orlando City officially announced Monday the signing of former Manchester United and Portuguese national team winger Nani to a three-year Designated Player contract.

“This is an exciting day for our organization,” said Orlando City SC EVP of Soccer Operations Luiz Muzzi said in a statement. “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.”

The 32-year-old winger joins the Lions on a free transfer after playing with Sporting Lisbon in the Primera Liga in Portugal this past season. He tallied seven goals and four assists with the team so far this season.

The Athletic’s Paul Tenorio confirmed the arrival of Nani to Orlando on Friday.

Orlando will mark the sixth club the winger has played for in his career, with his most notable club being Manchester United, which he was there from 2007-2015. He has also played for Italian club Lazio, Turkish club Fenerbahçe and Spanish club Valencia in the last five years.

Internationally, Nani has 112 caps for Portugal, having played in three World Cups and three UEFA European Championships. He most recently played in the World Cup in Russia, where he made three appearances for his country.

For Orlando City, the prolific winger is a perfect fit for James O’Connor’s preferred 3-4-3 formation, slotting in on either wing up front. Having primarily played on the left side, cutting in on his preferred right foot, that could be a very likely position for the Portuguese forward.

In order to become MLS roster compliant, which the deadline is on March 1, Orlando City will have to buy down one of its current Designated Players. Sources close to the club have said that it will be midfielder Sacha Kljestan that will be bought down to make room for Nani on the roster.


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