Stats: Nani proves a match for Messi in this area in Champions League opener


Manchester United's Nani proved a match for Lionel Messi in Sporting Lisbon's Champions League opener.

In the first round of Champions League matches only two players managed to create six chances for their teammates: Lionel Messi and Nani. 

The fact that Messi was the top chance creator is no surprise, given his creativity, but Nani's performance in the competition is more striking.

  TeamPosChances createdAppsMins
Lionel Messi Barcelona FW 6 1 90
Nani Sporting MF 6 1 90
Cristian Ansaldi Atlético DF 5 1 90
Danny Zenit FW 5 1 90
Christian Fuchs Schalke 04 DF 5 1 90
Cesc Fàbregas Chelsea MF 5 1 90
Alberto Moreno Liverpool DF 5 1 90
Luca Zuffi Basel MF 5 1 90

The winger has been desperately off form for a considerable amount of time at Manchester United and, for that reason, he was loaned out this summer to Sporting Lisbon.

However, if he keeps this form up it may be a bad decision. On his day, Nani can be a match-winner, but he has fallen short of the standards that he once reached in recent times.

It seems he could be getting back to closer to top form since his move back to the club where he started his career, though.

Nani shone for his side as he scored and was their most influential creative outlet in Sporting's Champions League opener, but they still were not able to pick up the victory against Maribor due to his teammates' profligacy in-front of goal. 

Of course, many will point towards the fact that Maribor are not one of the top teams in the tournament as one of the reasons why Nani was so impressive, but Messi also only starred against APOEL Nicosia. 

It shows that the struggling United midfielder has made an encouraging start to life since moving back on loan to Sporting this summer and the Red Devils will hope he keeps this form up.

Although he is unlikely to ever break back into the fold at Old Trafford, given the side's new attacking options, more performances like this will give him an outside chance. 

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