ORLANDO, FL – Soccer star Luis Nani announced that he will not be retuning to Orlando City for the 2022 season. Nani posted the following announcement on Twitter this afternoon:
The club released the following statement this afternoon, soon after Nani’s post:
“We want to thank Nani for the professionalism that he’s shown in his time in Orlando,” said Orlando City SC Chairman Mark Wilf in a club press release. “Even in the short time since we’ve taken over as stewards of this great club, we have had great respect for Nani’s passion and abilities, while he led us as captain. We wish him the best moving forward.”
“I want to personally thank Nani for believing in this project we’ve started and built together here, and I think it’s been the best decision of my three years here so far,” Orlando City Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations Luiz Muzzi said in the club’s release. “He brought everything that we needed from him, and he is a huge part of where we are today.”
Orlando City also posted news on twitter that they declined to renew Nani’s option for next season:
“NEWS: Orlando City SC Declines to Exercise Option on Forward Nani.
Thank you, Captain, for your time and dedication with our club and City. #ForeverALion”
Nani spent 3 years with Orlando since being signed from Sporting Lisbon on Feb. 18, 2019.
Many saw Nani as the next generation of former international stars, following the initial signing of Kaka.
Nani had a big impact on the Lions, including 28 regular-season goals and adding 23 assists in 77 appearances (64 starts). He also scored one playoff goal in three appearances (two starts) and two more goals in the MLS is Back Tournament knockout stages — both of those in a 3-1 win over Minnesota United that pushed Orlando into the final against Portland.
Nani leaves Orlando as the 2nd highest scorers in Orlando City history, and tied with Chris Mueller (also not returning) for career assists .