Old teammates Rooney, Nani to face off in competitive match for first time

Wayne Rooney, Nani - Manchester United - Talking

During their entwined careers in Europe, including winning everything together over seven seasons at Manchester United, Wayne Rooney and Nani have played against each other just one time for club and country. They've never lined up opposite one another in a competitive match. 

That will change on Sunday. 

Nani's Orlando City SC will host Rooney's D.C. United (6:30 pm ET | FS1 in US, MLS LIVE on DAZN in Canada) in a marquee clash. D.C. have started the season hot, one of the most impressive teams in the league with two wins and a draw from their first three games. Orlando, meanwhile, are looking to build off momentum earned from a huge win on the road against the New York Red Bulls last weekend. 

Rooney and Nani have yet to face each other in a competitive setting, though lined up against each other in one international friendly in 2016. Ahead of the 2016 European Championship, which Nani and Portugal would eventually win, Rooney and Nani both started. England fought for a late 1-0 victory.

Their paths never crossed in Europe after Nani left Manchester United in 2014, bouncing to a few different clubs before heading to MLS. Rooney left United in 2017 to play a season with Everton before joining D.C. last summer. 

While teammates, the pair hoisted four league titles, two League Cups and a Champions League, conquering it all in England. Nani exited United in 2014 to re-join Sporting CP on loan, the second of his eventual three stints with his boyhood club, but kept a friendship with Rooney. 

“We were very good friends when we were at Manchester United,” Nani said this week. “Great moments together, I think it’s beautiful for the people who support that big club and enjoyed us [when] we played in the same side.”

If the pair are destined for a 50/50 challenge, though, don't expect to easily notice much of a friendship.