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Premier League

Nani vows to become greatest player in the world

Manchester United winger Nani has vowed to keep working until he has fulfilled his dream of becoming one of the world's best players.

Twelve months ago many United supporters had lost patience with the former Sporting Lisbon star and were ready to usher him through the Old Trafford exit door.

But the transformation since has been remarkable.

Twenty-four later this month, Nani has emerged as a key figure in United's pursuit of honours this season, a status that has been enhanced by a long-term injury to Antonio Valencia.

He earned high praise from Arsene Wenger earlier this week and while a groin injury is set to keep him out of Saturday's Barclays Premier League encounter with Wolves at Old Trafford, his drive for perfection continues.

"I want to be one of the best players," he said.

"In the future, I want everyone to be saying Nani is one of the best players in the world. That is my ambition.

"Maybe some people are saying it now. If they are I am very happy.

"I have been working hard to be in this position. But I know I can also do much better and will keep going every day to get there."

The arrogance is similar to that shown by fellow countryman Cristiano Ronaldo during his own time at Old Trafford, and he ended up becoming the undisputed world number one in 2008.

Nani might not quite reach that level but his influence on this current United side cannot be understated.

Not that he is fazed by the added responsibility.

"I enjoy the pressure of being an important member of the side," he said.

"When you have the ambition to be a top player you have to like the pressure as well.

"I am happy to take on that responsibility and am enjoying my football at the moment."

It says much for Nani's mental toughness that he refused to let his head drop and concede defeat in his battle for United recognition.

During those dark days, when he turned into a peripheral figure at best, he never lost faith in his own talent, even as the list of doubters, both inside Old Trafford and beyond, began to grow.

"Since I came to Manchester I always said I believed in my qualities and my capabilities," he said.

"Eventually I got my opportunities.

"I am more mature now and more experienced in the team.

"I am doing well now but I always felt I would get to this position.

"I always knew I could play well and be an important member of the team."