The A-League may be big here in Australia, but it’s lacking star power to give it international notoriety. Few star names decide to move to the division, but that could be set to change now that Nani is plying his trade for Melbourne Victory.
The MLS has long been the destination of choice for footballers whose careers are winding down, but the Portuguese legend could persuade other huge names to follow him Down Under instead.
Nani is Persuading Bettors to Stake on Melbourne Victory
Nani joined Melbourne Victory at the start of the 2022 season, hoping to build on the successful second-place finish that Tony Popovic’s side achieved in the 2021-22 campaign. Results have since been hit or miss, but there’s a feeling that Nani will soon start clicking with his teammates. This is reflected in the football betting odds, where Victory are often favoured by bookies against rivals of similar stature. For example, they were odds-on at 4/5 to beat Brisbane Roar in the early January fixture.
Nani failed to find the back of the net in his first nine games in Melbourne, but the pedigree of the 36-year-old can’t be denied. He racked up 24 career goals for his country and was renowned for scoring and assisting at all the clubs he’s played for throughout his glittering career. Notably, Nani featured 112 times for Portugal, making him one of their most important players ever. He was a key figure in the 2016 European Championship-winning side and brings an incredible wealth of experience to the A-League.
Portuguese Star Played in MLS First
A-League officials will be well aware that Nani is probably the most famous face to have ever kicked a ball in the country and will be hoping that he can persuade other stars to move here in the twilight days of their careers. Ever since David Beckham made the switch to LA Galaxy in 2007, a wide range of stars have followed him to the MLS. Nani could potentially have the same effect on the A-League in the future.
Nani played in the MLS with Orlando City between 2019 and 2021 and enjoyed great success there. He bagged 28 goals in 77 appearances for the club, and this may have helped him realise that he still had more in the tank. His move to the A-League after the MLS could set a new trend in players prolonging their careers in this way.
There haven’t been that many players of note in the A-League up to this point, but executives are aware that well-known names are needed to help boost spectator figures. Daniel Sturridge’s arrival at Perth Glory in 2021 was described as the biggest signing in the division’s history, but it didn’t work out for the former Liverpool man who only played six games before he was released.
Nani’s move to Melbourne Victory could be hugely beneficial for the A-League. Not only will it increase viewing figures who want to see a household star, but it could persuade other major names to follow his path in the future.