Nani’s MLS red card that left him in floods of tears is still one of the harshest of the VAR era

  • Rob Swan
Nani’s MLS red card that left him in floods of tears is still one of the harshest of the VAR era

Nani was on the receiving end of one of the harshest VAR red cards during his spell in Major League Soccer (MLS) with Orlando City.

The former Manchester United star, best known for his eight-year spell at Old Trafford between 2007-2015, made headlines in November 2020 after being left in floods of tears following the VAR decision.

Nani was playing against Columbus Crew at the Exploria Stadium when the incident occurred early in the second half.

The Portuguese winger appeared to win the ball following a challenge on Brazilian midfielder Artur but was shown a yellow card by referee Ramy Toucan.

Nani pleaded his innocence. You could see from the look on his face that he was shocked by the decision.


But there was worse to come moments later when Toucan was advised to check the incident on the VAR monitor.

Despite having the benefit of a slow-motion replay, the referee somehow reached the conclusion that Nani was guilty of serious foul play and subsequently updated the yellow card to a straight red.

It was all too much for Nani, who sank to his knees before trudging off the pitch with tears streaming down his face.

Nani sent off MLS

The ex-Premier League ace was visibly stunned and upset by the decision and when you watch the incident you’ll understand why.

Video: Nani’s harsh red card while playing in MLS

Seriously, how on earth was that tackle worthy of a red card? 

The co-commentator for the MLS feed in America said: “Forgive me if I’m in too much disagreement with this call but the one look that we have so far, it certainly makes me question this call to be a foul in the first place.”

While the commentator added: “I just don’t understand this at all.”

How did football fans react to Nani’s red card?

Countless football fans on social media were in complete agreement.

Let’s check out some of the reaction from the time:

It won’t come as a shock to learn that Nani’s red card was later rescinded by MLS’s Independent Review Panel.

Where is Nani now?

The winger continued playing in MLS for one more year before moving to Italian outfit Venezia in January 2022.

Nani was unable to prevent the club from finishing bottom of the Serie A table, however, and will find himself competing in Italy’s second tier next season unless he moves clubs before the transfer window closes.

Nani Venezia
VENICE, ITALY – FEBRUARY 20: Luis Nani of Venezia during the Serie A match between Venezia FC and Genoa CFC at Stadio Pier Luigi Penzo on February 20, 2022 in Venice, Italy. (Photo by Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images)

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