Nani relishing Melbourne derby day as Portugal star vows to dig deep for Victory

By Sports Desk October 21, 2022

Nani outlined his intention to give Melbourne Victory supporters "a beautiful night" as the derby against Melbourne City arrives on Saturday.

Portuguese winger Nani has experienced derbies in some of the world's great football cities, having played for Sporting CP, Manchester United, Lazio and Fenerbahce during an illustrious career.

Now an A-League derby awaits the 35-year-old, and he says the occasion will be comparable to his previous experiences of gunning for local bragging rights.

"A derby is a derby. You need to take it the way it is, you need to win," Nani said.

"Derbies are there to win, not to lose, because if you lose, it is the worst day of your life. You cannot go out. I don't feel in the mood to walk around, and you know you feel the shame.

"This is a moment of pride, so you want to give your fans a beautiful night, special feelings, and make them feel we are the best in the country."

Nani said hosts Victory will need to put in an almighty effort to earn all three points in front of a sell-out crowd at AAMI Park.

"We know it's a tough game," he said. "They are a strong opponent as well, so to win we need to give everything we've got and let's wait for the game and see what we can do."

Victory began the season with a 3-2 win over Sydney FC, before falling 1-0 to Western City Wanderers last week.

Last season saw Victory finish one point behind their neighbours, who topped the table in the regular season. Melbourne City then went on to lose to Western United in the Grand Final.

Melbourne City have begun this campaign with two wins, an early indication they should be challengers again.

Nani sees Victory as underdogs this weekend, saying Melbourne City "have a fantastic squad".

"I think probably they've been showing they're better than us on the field, the way they've been performing," Nani said. "So, it will be very tough for us. We need to be a compact team, we need to work very hard, and then try our best to beat them."

At the age of 35, Nani says he is putting in the hours to get in the best possible shape for his latest career challenge in Australia.

Asked if he might produce one of his famous backflips should he grab a derby goal, Nani said: "Yeah, why not? Let's see. I let the environment and the moment make the decision. So, what comes in the brain, we will do."

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