He may not be the first name that springs to mind when you think of the Galactico’s of Real Madrid but Angel Di Maria was, in a lot of respects, the true star of the Champions League winner’s 2013/14 campaign.
Real Madrid’s top assister for their 2013/14 campaign had the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale to contend with for the entirety of what turned out to be a very hard fought campaign for Carlo Ancelotti’s men, yet the Argentinian shone in both Real Madrid’s domestic and European runs.
Since the arrival of Gareth Bale to Madrid from Tottenham, Di Maria has been forced out of his favored wide position and took it upon himself to remold his game as a central midfield player. After just one season in his new central role, Angel went from being surplus to indispensable to Madrid and looking at his stats it’s easy to see why.
With 17 assists and an average of 2.7 key passes per game, Di Maria was the engine that kept Real Madrid’s title hopes alive until very late and most notably was the stand out performer in Real Madrid’s Champions League final victory over local rivals Atletico Madrid.
Angel Di Maria also enjoyed a fantastic summer in Brazil at the World Cup 2014 with his native Argentina. Di Maria’s tournament was ended abruptly before he had the chance to take the field in the tournament final against eventual winners Germany, however Di Maria still managed to come out the most dangerous player in an Argentinian side littered with attacking talent, such as a certain Lionel Messi. Angle Di Maria ended the tournament with 24 shots and 187 attacking-third touches, more than any of his fellow compatriots.
Who’s Interested? Manchester United
With the fee agreed believed to be a whopping £59.7m for the Argentinian star, it seems Angel’s impact is not something that has gone unnoticed by new Red Devils coach Louis Van Gaal.
With Manchester United undergoing what seems to be a dramatic transition period, a player of Di Maria’s undeniable quality is a huge stride forward and huge statement of intent by the new Dutch coach in the Red side of Manchester,
A lack of creativity and drive seems to have left Manchester United uncharacteristically blunt as of late and the addition of a player such as Di Maria is just what is needed to re-ignite the classic Man Utd grit and fortitude.
During the 2013/14 campaign, Di Maria created 90 goal scoring chances, more than Man Utd’s midfielders Januzaj, Valencia, Young and Nani combined, who only managed 84. With this blatant of a gap in quality it’s no surprise that Van Gaal is willing to break the British transfer record to bring Di Mari to Old Trafford before a season that has started poorly spirals into disaster.
Off of the back of a fantastic 2013/14 campaign with Real Madrid and a phenomenal World Cup in Argentina, Manchester United are definitely buying high , however the reward definitely outweighs the risk and as the paper work seems to be in the process of going through for Di Maria to strut his stuff on the theatre of dreams, the value is high but the chances of success are higher.
Words by Ben Fawcett