Rooney meets familiar opponent in Luis Nani

IMAGE: Rooney match iso

The match against Orlando City over the weekend offers the first glance at former Manchester United teammates, Wayne Rooney and Luis Nani, as they line up against each other in MLS Regular Season action. 

Rooney and Nani forged a strong on-field relationship at Manchester United during an eight-year window from 2007-2015 that saw the pair lift 13 trophies together with international managing legend, Sir Alex Ferguson, at the helm. They were a captivating attacking force for the Red Devils with Nani’s trademark crafty runs and Rooney putting them in the net becoming a staple of the Premier League.

Their playing days together began when Nani signed with Manchester United from Sporting CP on July 2, 2007. They shared the field for the first time on August 12, 2007 in the opening game of the Premier League season in a 0-0 draw with Reading. They were crowned champion at the end of that season and would go on to win it three more times together (2007-2008, 2008-2009, 2010-2011, 2012-2013). In total, the two players appeared 155 times together and combined for 23 goals as they went on to win a Champions League (2007-2008), two English League Cups (2009, 2010), five English Super Cups and a FIFA Club World Cup.

Both Rooney and Nani, created names for themselves in Europe’s top flights of soccer and they have both shifted their attention to the ever-growing and improving MLS. With every major trophy in Europe in their trophy case from their time in Manchester, they will both be competing to see who can land the first silverware in the US. 

Rooney led the charge over to America when he joined the Black-and-Red as their new Designated Player on June 28, 2018. His arrival coincided with one of the most profound midseason turnarounds in MLS history with the captain’s 12 goals and seven assists being one of the catalysts for United transitioning from dead last to fourth in the Eastern Conference. 

On the other side of the spectrum, Nani recently joined Orlando City as a Designated Player in the offseason following a disappointing 2018 campaign that saw them flounder following the departure of longtime player, Kaka. The Lions had a turbulent start to the season after recording consecutive ties and losing 3-1 at home to Montreal. The Portuguese winger will hope that the team’s 1-0 win on the road against the New York Red Bulls on March 23 will put momentum on their side going into the fixture on Sunday.

Fans will be in for a treat on Sunday as they get to watch one of the winningest pairs of players in Premier League history line up in their new MLS colors. Tune into FS1 at 6:30 PM ET to catch the action.