Ángel di María
Di María with Argentina in 2011
|Full name||Ángel Fabián di María Hernández|
|Date of birth||14 February 1988|
|Place of birth||Rosario, Argentina|
|Height||1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)|
|Playing position||Winger / Midfielder|
|Current club||Real Madrid|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 19:55, 9 March 2014 (UTC).
† Appearances (Goals).
Ángel Fabián di María Hernández (born 14 February 1988) is an Argentine professional footballer who currently plays as a winger for Spanish La Liga club Real Madrid and the Argentine national team. He is nicknamed El Angelito, Di Magia, El Flaco, El Pibito and Fideo, Spanish for noodle.
Di Maria started his professional football career in 2005 when he made his debut for Rosario Central. In January 2007, he had an opportunity to play in the Russian Premier League when Rubin Kazan offered him a contract. At first, he agreed, but soon afterwards, he changed his mind and turned down the offer. After putting up a remarkable performance in the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup, playing for Argentina, di María caught the eye of several European teams and in the end, SL Benfica signed him.
Di María was transferred to Portuguese side Benfica in July 2007 where he played as a midfielder. Benfica paid Rosario Central €6 million for 80% of his sports rights and 50% of sports right of Andrés Díaz. Later, in August 2008, the Portuguese club paid an extra €2 million for the remaining 20%, but re-sold 10% to GestiFute.
So highly regarded was di María by Benfica that team president Luís Filipe Vieira, when presenting the young Argentine, told the club's supporters he had bought the perfect replacement for Benfica's departing captain, Simão, a talismanic figure for Benfica for over five seasons.
During the first months of his tenure in Lisbon, di María showed that he was not in the least weighed down by the expectations, and the fans quickly took to the exciting talent.
Di María signed a new deal with Benfica in October 2009, adding three more years to his current deal, which was to last until 30 June 2015 with a €40 million minimum fee release. Later that month, he was backed by Diego Maradona to become "Argentina's next superstar."
On 28 June 2010, Real Madrid posted on their website that they had come to terms with Benfica for the transfer of di María. He signed a five-year contract for €25 million, plus €11 million in incentives, as announced by the Portuguese Stock Exchange regulating entity. On 7 July 2010, di María arrived to Madrid directly from Buenos Aires, and passed the medical test on 8 July.
He made his debut on 4 August 2010 in a friendly match against Club América, which Real Madrid won 3–2–. On 22 August, di María scored his first goal in another friendly against Hércules CF, which Real Madrid won 3–1. In the last match of preseason, on 24 August, after an individual play described as a "magic moment", he opened the score of the 2–0 win against CA Peñarol, for the Santiago Bernabéu Trophy.
His league debut came on 29 August, in a 0–0 draw against RCD Mallorca. On 18 September, di María scored his first league goal for Real Madrid in their 2–1 win over Real Sociedad. Ten days later, he scored his first goal in the Champions League against AJ Auxerre, in a 1–0 victory. He scored a controversial first goal against Sevilla FC on 19 December. Days later, di María assisted Karim Benzema's two goals and Cristiano Ronaldo's goal in an astonishing 8–0 drubbing of Levante UD on 22 December. In the second leg of the Champions League last 16 round against Olympique Lyonnais, he scored the third and final goal in a 3–0 win to send Real Madrid through to the last eight for the first time in seven years.
Di María scored Real's third goal during their first-leg Champions League quarter-final victory over Tottenham Hotspur. On 20 April 2011, he was sent off in the 31st minute of extra time in the Copa del Rey final against rivals FC Barcelona. Real Madrid won the game 1–0, the lone goal of this game (in the 13th minute of extra time) being a header from Ronaldo, which came from his cross, thus obtaining his first honour with Real Madrid.
During the start of the 2011–2012 season, di María endured a tough series of matches as he struggled to adapt to the pace of the league following the summer break. As a result, di María's early performance for the season were mixed with moments of genuinely good play interspersed with moments of sheer madness by the Argentine. This point was well illustrated during Real Madrid's 1–0 defeat to Levante, a match which saw a clearly out of sorts di María commit a horror foul on Levante's Juanfran during the match. Di María caused the two teams to clash and an on-field incident ensued. After this, however, di María's performances improved, including opening up a significant gap at the top of the assists table. From October 2011, di María was being picked by José Mourinho ahead of Kaká and Mesut Özil, a sign of his improving form.
On 27 November 2011, di María played 60 minutes in a league game against city rivals Atlético Madrid, in which he scored a goal for Real Madrid. José Mourinho's team won the game 4–1. On 3 December 2011, Di Maria scored Real's first goal from a sharp angle in a 0–3 defeat of Sporting de Gijón in the La Liga.
Although Di Maria didn't have the best season, he did contribute in big moments, most notably against Manchester United after a cross to assist Cristiano Ronaldo's goal, in the league he provided quality assists, and scored 8 goals throughout the season in 46 appearances, notably against Atletico Madrid, Malaga C.F.
Di Maria started the pre-season in great form with goals against Bournemouth and L.A Galaxy. He was later on linked with a move away from the Spanish capital in order to make room for eventual record-signing Gareth Bale, but he stayed with the team.
In 2007, di María was picked to play for the Argentina Under-20 squad. He was capped for the 2007 South American Youth Championship in Paraguay. In 2007, he was called up for the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada. They went on to win the tournament with di María scoring three goals in the process.
On 28 January 2008, di María and some of his U-20 teammates were called up for the Argentina squad for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He scored the extra-time game-winning goal on a pass from Lionel Messi in the 105th minute of his team's 2–1 quarterfinal win over the Netherlands.
On 23 August, di María scored the game-winner, a chip over the keeper from the edge of the area in the 57th minute of Argentina's 1–0 victory against Nigeria to capture their second straight Olympic Gold Medal in the final game of the Olympic tournament.
Di María was chosen as one of the 23 players for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. On 11 August 2010, he scored the first ever international goal at Dublin's new Aviva Stadium in a friendly against Ireland with Argentina winning 1–0.
Di María married his girlfriend of two years, Jorgelina Cardoso, in Argentina at the end of July 2011. Jorgelina is from Rosario, Argentina. Giannina Maradona and her child were also in attendance. His father was also a footballer, who played for River Plate's reserves.
- 1Includes other competitive competitions, including the Supercopa de España.