The anatomy of a Premier League flop.
Foreign? Check. £50m plus transfer? Check. Arriving with serious pedigree? Check.
Angel Di Maria really did complete the trifecta at Man United.
From undisputed man of the match in the 2014 Champions League final to being branded a ‘fanny’ at Old Trafford, it all unravelled fairly swiftly for the then British record signing.
But now, on a hotly anticipated night at the Theatre of Dreams, Di Maria has his shot at redemption, his chance for vengeance.
The 30-year-old had all the credentials to succeed but, like many before and after him, failed to adorn the famous number seven shirt.
His iconic dink at Leicester was really as good as it got.
Di Maria was soon marginalised by Louis van Gaal’s system, his wings clipped as natural wide men were shunned.
Despite some decent creative stats, the Argentine was off after a reported rift with Wayne Rooney and just one solitary season, United fortunate to recoup the majority of the fee they forked out for him because, well, PSG are made of money.
And it’s fitting that Di Maria comes face to face with his replacement – Anthony Martial – on what should be a mouthwatering night at Old Trafford.
Martial succeeded where his predecessor fell short, not only hitting the ground running but sustaining his form despite certain managers stunting his growth.
Both come into the Champions League clash in electric form.
Martial expertly reenacted Cristiano Ronaldo’s famous Fulham goal at the weekend, while Di Maria has hit double figures for goals and assists in all competitions despite PSG’s MCN strike force hogging the headlines.
The ‘C’ and the ‘N’ are sidelined with injuries, which means the spotlight falls on ‘DM’ perhaps even more than expected.
Di Maria, of his time in Salford, said this week: “It wasn’t the best period of my career, or they didn’t let me have my best time there.
“There were problems with the coach at the time, but thanks to God I was able to come to PSG and be myself again.”
Should he score, you’d imagine he’ll be more Emmanuel Adebayor, manically sprinting the length of the field against Arsenal, than Frank Lampard, courteously subdued against Chelsea, when celebrating.
We’ll probably never know if Di Maria could really hack English football, one season far too short to gauge.
But he can at least show his former employers what they’re missing.
Anyone else just ludicrously excited?
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