Luis Nani, the former star of Manchester United and Portugal, shared insights into his difficult upbringing. The Orlando footballer disclosed how his father left him and his family at a young age, and recounted their experiences of begging for food on the streets of Lisbon alongside his brother.
At the age of seven, Nani described their living conditions in a wooden house constructed by his father. Despite the leaky roof, they would temporarily patch it with plastic when it rained. However, before completing the construction of a larger house with proper materials, his father departed for Cape Verde, their ancestral home.
Initially assuming his father’s absence would be brief, Nani was left waiting for months without any knowledge of his whereabouts. Speculating that he might have been visiting his other sons in Cape Verde, Nani harbored too much love for his father to hold resentment.
Recalling their hardships, Nani revealed the daily struggle for sustenance during their impoverished childhood. The house was infested with rats and lizards, which, though unsettling, became a familiar part of their lives. However, hunger was an experience that couldn’t be normalized, leaving a profound impact on Nani.
Describing the piercing pain of extreme hunger, Nani acknowledged enduring it on numerous occasions. He and his brother made a conscious choice to beg rather than resort to theft while navigating the streets of Lisbon.
Nani’s football journey began at the age of 17 when he signed with Sporting Lisbon. After four years, he made a move to Manchester United, where he achieved remarkable success. During his time with the English powerhouse, Nani secured four Premier League titles and one Champions League triumph.