Melbourne Victory cop yet another devastating blow after former Manchester United superstar Nani ruled out for the rest of the season with serious knee injury
- Nani has ruptured his ACL, ruling him out for the rest of the A-League season
- It happened in a tangle of legs during the Victory’s 1-0 loss to the Roar
- The club confirmed the extent of serious knee injury in a statement on Sunday
Melbourne Victory’s rollercoaster A-League campaign has hit another devastating low, with the confirmation that star recruit Luis Nani will miss the rest of the season with a serious knee injury.
The former Manchester United superstar, 36, was touted as one of the biggest signings in A-League history when he joined the Victory in July last year after four English Premier League (EPL) titles and a Champions League victory for the Red Devils, as well as a host of other honours in his storied career.
Victory confirmed the winger ruptured his anteror cruciate ligament (ACL) in a clash of legs with Brisbane Roar’s Connor Chapman late in Victory’s 1-0 defeat on Friday night at a ghostly quiet AAMI Park.
Melbourne Victory marquee superstar Nani has been ruled out for the rest of the A-League season after suffering a torn ACL on Friday night
During his 147-match Manchester United career, Nani won four EPL titles (pictured celebrating in 2009 with Christiano Ronaldo) and a Champions League, amongst a host of other honours
Nani lies dejected and in pain on the AAMI Park turf after suffering a knee injury that has turned out to be season-ending
Scans on Nani’s right knee confirmed the club’s worst injury fears, and in a statement, Victory coach Tony Popovic said he was devastated for their marquee recruit.
‘We’re all disappointed for Luis,’ he said in the statement, which was released on Sunday morning.
‘Luis has been a big influence around the club through his leadership and experience, and he will be an incredible loss for our squad.
‘The entire club will rally around Luis and will support him through his recovery.’
Nani joined the Victory to much fanfare prior to the 2022/23 A-League season, but unfortunately for the club has failed to live up to the hype.
After delighting fans with his dazzling speed and silky-skilled dribbling during stints in Portugal, England, Spain, England and the USA, and starring for Portugal during their 2016 Euros win, Nani went goalless in his nine starts for the Victory.
The 36-year-old arrived in Australia along with fellow former EPL forward Charlie Austin, who signed with Brisbane, with the pair giving A-League fans plenty of hope it would be the best season yet.
Nani played 147 matches for Manchester United between 2007-2015, during which time the club had enormous success
But both players are now lost to the competition, with Austin citing family reasons for his return home to the UK, where he has re-joined League Two’s Swindon Town.
It was a third consecutive loss for Popovic’s side, who have slipped to 11th on the ladder, only above last-placed Perth on goal difference.
The horror run has come with Victory still awaiting full sanctions from Football Australia over last month’s violent pitch invasion during the abandoned Melbourne derby.
17 people have now been given long bans – some for life – for their part in the chaos that was labelled the ‘darkest day in Australian football’.
Nani was billed as a HUGE signing for the Victory after joining prior to the 2022/23 season, but the former Manchester United superstar disappointed and is now sidelined with injury
The Victory have also been forced to play in front of only valid club members, and can’t sell any tickets, with AAMI Park resembling more a ghost town than a hive of football-related excitement.
It hasn’t exactly been a boon year for the players, either.
Only Perth have scored fewer than Victory’s tally of nine from 10 games.
Fortunately for the cellar dwellers, they’ll have the opportunity to bolster their squad in the January transfer window, with Nani’s injury meaning they now have two spots available for foreign recruits.