Nani has thanked Portugal boss Paulo Bento for saving him from a life of crime as a child growing up in Lisbon's notorious Amadora district.
The Manchester United winger played under Bento when he was in charge of Sporting Lisbon's youth academy and now the 25-year-old is one step away from playing for him in a major final.
But standing between them and a shot at the Euro 2012 crown are the defending champions and favourites Spain in Donetsk on Wednesday.
And now Nani has the chance to repay the faith shown in him by Bento as a child by guiding Portugal to the final in Kiev on Sunday.
"He is one of the main reasons I am where I am because he opened doors and my eyes and made me see what I was doing was wrong many times," said Nani.
"He made me realise if I wanted to be here, as I am today, I need to change certain things. He believed in me.
"It was difficult to live there, always problems with the shootings. There was violence.
"There was a big gang of us, close friends, who used to go around together when we were young. Now some of the guys are in prison. Football was the only way to get out."