Nani: ‘Can’t wait for Rome Derby’

Luis Nani is enjoying life at Lazio and “already has goosebumps” for the Derby della Capitale with rivals Roma. “The Scudetto is possible.”

The Portugal international was a surprise late signing this summer and, after recovering from injury problems, has already made his mark with the Aquile, scoring one goal and one assist in six appearances.

“We are not in our current position as a fluke, but we need to stay up there and nothing about that will be easy,” Nani told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Any target is possible, even the Scudetto, but there’s no point talking about that now. If we were to still be up there with five rounds to go…

“I was injured when I arrived, and it took a while to get back into shape, but now I feel good and will try to give the team everything I can. I was given such a warm welcome and can’t wait to repay them for that on the field.

“The goal against Benevento was very important, as I really wanted to break the ice early. I do enjoy this position playing behind the strikers, as it allows me to participate more in the overall game.”

Having worked with some of the top Coaches, including Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, what does Nani make of Simone Inzaghi?

“He has everything it takes to become a great Coach. He is complete, but what really strikes me is the way he manages to motivate every single player for every game.”

There’s no need to motivate the players for next weekend’s showdown with local rivals Roma.

“Since the moment I arrived, people talk to me about nothing else. I experienced the derby in Manchester, in Lisbon and Istanbul. It’s always passionate, but I’ve already got goosebumps for the Rome derby.

“Roma are a very strong side, one of the five candidates to win the Scudetto. Edin Dzeko is particularly dangerous, but the others are not to be underestimated either.

“Federico Macheda (former Lazio player) already told me about it in Manchester. We were good friends at the time and he always talked about Lazio. I chose to live in the centre of Rome, so I can breathe in the derby atmosphere. I know what it means.

“I love Rome so much that I wanted to experience it to the full. I’ve already visited the Colosseum and the Vatican.”

Lazio hope that Nani can give them the step up in quality, but it works both ways.

“I won’t deny that I hope to earn my place with Portugal at the World Cup. I only played one, in 2014, because I was injured in 2010, so I don’t want to miss out on the trip to Russia.

“I won the Premier League, the Champions League and Club World Cup with Manchester United, but nothing compares to the Euros with Portugal. I will never forget the joy of an entire country after we won.”

When Nani joined Lazio, he chose the Number 7 jersey, which recreates the Italian title of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves: 7 Nani.

“I didn’t know about that when I chose the shirt, as I didn’t speak Italian and in Portuguese that fairy-tale has a different title. But when I found out what it meant, I had a good laugh. Going back, I’d definitely make the same choice again.”

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