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Orlando City Signs Nani as Designated Player

The Portugal veteran joins Orlando City on a three-year contract.

Nani, who starred for Manchester United and the Portugal national team, has signed with Orlando City, joining the MLS side on a three-year Designated Player deal following a free transfer.

Now 32, Nani was most recently with Sporting CP in his native country for a third spell. He began his career there before his notable time at Manchester United, during which he won four Premier League titles, two League Cups and a Champions League crown. Since then, his career has taken him to stops at Fenerbahce, Valencia and Lazio before a return to Sporting last year.

With his national team, Nani won the 2016 European championship with Portugal and scored against the USA in the 2014 World Cup group stage, one of his 24 international goals.

"This is an exciting day for our organization,” Orlando City executive VP of soccer operations Luiz Muzzi said in a statement. “Nani brings tremendous experience to our roster. He’s a dynamic winger with quality abilities to move and cross the ball, impact games and lead the offensive play.”

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Whether he still can bring those qualities into his 30s remains to be seen. He joins an Orlando City team that has a number of intriguing attacking pieces but failed to find consistency last season. Its 43 goals scored were tied for second-fewest in the league in 2018, and its 74 goals conceded set a new standard for defensive futility, en route to a last-place finish in the Eastern Conference.

Just how Orlando reconfigures its roster designations remains to be seen as well. The club already had the full allotment of three DPs in tow, with Dom Dwyer, Sacha Kljestan and Josue Colman. Presuming the club holds onto all three, one figures to have his budget charge bought down with allocation money to keep the club roster-compliant.

Nani becomes the latest ex-Man United big name to sign with an MLS club, following in the footsteps of Wayne Rooney (D.C. United), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Chicago Fire) and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (LA Galaxy).