It is needless to say that Ángel Di María is not the most popular figure amongst Manchester United supporters after acrimoniously ending his short spell in England and signing for Paris St Germain for close to £15 million less than United paid twelve months earlier. The dip in form and confidence of the 27-year-old was evident to anyone who watched a United match in the second half of last season but the Argentina international has revealed the reason behind his failure and resulting departure.
Arriving as the marquee signing from Real Madrid, Di María made an initial impact for United but quickly slipped down the pegging order after injury had curtailed his progress. Although nothing was ever made public, it was at least suspected the his relation with Louis van Gaal was far from perfect and Di María has now broken silence on this.
Speaking with ESPN radio in Argentina, the Paris St Germain midfielder said: “Van Gaal has his philosophy and it is one of the reasons why I wanted to leave Manchester United.”
Following his excellent start and superb goal against Leicester, Di María cited the hamstring injury that he suffered against Hull in November as the starting point of his decline. “I made a very good start and then I got injured. Things weren’t quite working for me and Van Gaal changed my position.”
The positional change asked of him by van Gaal was obvious the cause of tension between the two and Di María added: “It’s difficult to adapt to Van Gaal. I had a number of flare ups with him.”
A notorious disciplinarian, Van Gaal is unlikely to have been enamoured with Di María’s attitude and when the 27-year-old failed to report to pre-season training in the United States after the Copa América it was clear his future was away from Manchester.
Paris St Germain eventually got their man: one year later and for a fee of around £46 million, substantially less than the British transfer record that United shelled out the summer earlier.
Di María made his debut for Paris on Sunday and immediately gave a glimpse of his talents with a superb assist for Ezequiel Lavezzi to score during the 3-0 win over Monaco. Speaking about the switch to France, El Fideo said: “I spoke to Blanc and he believes I should play in a similar position as I did at Real Madrid [in a three-man midfield].
Certainly during this time, and also in the same position under Alejandro Sabella for Argentina, Di María excelled and if Paris St Germain can get him playing at this level on a regular basis then they will reap the rewards.
Certainly the value that the club and the supporters placed in him made the move to Paris much easier. The midfielder added: “I never believed I would get such a great reception here. It was the best presentation I’ve ever had at a club.
“The truth is that I’m very happy that I came to PSG and to have team-mates such as [Ezequiel] Lavezzi and [Javier] Pastore.”