Manchester United's Nani wrongly picked over Ricardo Quaresma for Portugal

Nani and Lahm Portugal Germany

Manchester United winger Nani can count his lucky stars he has retained his place in Portugal's World Cup squad.

Manager Paulo Bento trimmed the preliminary squad yesterday with Ricardo Quaresma cut from the team, and Nani the beneficiary.

Quaresma, a former Chelsea loanee, like Nani began his career at Sporting Lisbon and has flattered to deceive when it comes to fulfilling his talent.

This season however he has hit his stride upon a return to the Primeira Liga with Porto, having been a free agent at the beginning of the campaign. He has struck seven league goals, four of which came in the final 10 games.

Now 30, there was hope in his homeland the World Cup could provide an unlikely redemption for the divisive winger, but his last chance now appears to have passed him by.

When considering the player who was selected ahead of him, Manchester United winger Nani can count himself particularly fortunate when it comes to his place.

He has had an injury-hit season, but when he has been granted opportunities for the Red Devils, he has failed to make them count. Below are his key Premier League statistics from the 2013/14 campaign.

  TeamPosGoalsGoal AssistTotal Att AssistAppsMins
Nani Man Utd MF 0 0 11 11 560

Nani's previous record for Portugal is likely the deciding factor, with more than 70 international caps to his name. Yet on this season alone, he is undeserving.

Perhaps however he is due a slice of luck. Nani ended the 2009/10 season in superb form, his best for Manchester United and was tipped to be Portugal's x-factor at the World Cup. Instead he suffered a shoulder injury in training camp and missed the tournament.

He has a chance now to showcase his ability on the big stage, and prove to new manager Louis van Gaal he deserves to stay at Old Trafford, and if the Dutchman has already made up his mind, earn himself a stellar move by putting himself in the shop window.

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