Nani admitted he was “very scared” of Alex Ferguson when he first arrived at Manchester United, recalling a difficult drive home with the manager one day.
Nani moved to Old Trafford from Sporting CP in 2007 and went on to win four Premier League titles and a Champions League among numerous other honours.
But the Portugal international said he was initially scared of Ferguson, who had already been in charge of United for more than 20 years.
“At the beginning, I was very scared of him. Like a father, you know? To make a mistake or do something wrong, because sometimes to interact with him, I don’t know,” Nani, now playing for Orlando City, told the UTD Podcast.
“I see him talking with other players and I want to be involved but I think what am I going to say, you know? I don’t know. But I was scared of him until I learned to understand and was able to express myself.
“My English has never been perfect, or going to be, but at that time it was worse than now and when he found I could speak more with him, he started coming to me and giving me more attention. And from then, I learned more about Sir Alex Ferguson. What he wanted to do, who he was and the relationship started to be better.
“He’s a man who knows how to manage all characters, all different ages, all different personalities. My personality in that time, I was young, and not easy. I know that and I learned a lot, I changed a lot. That is life. You must learn.”
Still, there were setbacks and Nani recalled driving Ferguson home after a 2-2 draw away to Fulham in August 2010.
The attacker had come off the bench and missed a penalty, one which he took instead of regular taker Ryan Giggs.
“I drove him back home and he didn’t talk to me in the car! In the dressing room he killed me! He said: ‘Nani, who do you think you are? Who gave you permission to take the penalty?'” Nani said.
“Then he killed Ryan Giggs… ‘Ryan, why did you let him take the penalty?’ Ryan said, ‘He grabbed the ball and I let him.’
“Oh my God, that day was incredible. I took him home and I feel very uncomfortable driving.”