Ángel Di María
Di María with Paris Saint-Germain in 2015
|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)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 28 August 2016.
Ángel Fabián Di María Hernández (American Spanish: ['aŋxel di ma'ɾi.a]; born 14 February 1988) is an Argentine professional footballer who plays for French club Paris Saint-Germain and the Argentina national team. He can play as either a winger or attacking midfielder.
After beginning his career with Rosario Central, Di María moved to Europe in 2007 to play for Benfica, earning a €25 million move to Real Madrid three years later. After winning the Champions League with Real Madrid, he signed for Manchester United in 2014 for a British record £59.7 million, but joined PSG a year later for around £44 million.
A full international for Argentina since 2008, Di María has earned over 70 caps for his country. He scored the goal that won the country gold at the 2008 Olympics, and has also represented them at two FIFA World Cups and three Copa América tournaments, reaching the final of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the 2015 Copa América, and the Copa América Centenario.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Club career
- 3 International career
- 4 Style of play
- 5 Personal life
- 6 Career statistics
- 7 Honours
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Di María was born on 14 February 1988 in Rosario, Argentina, as one of three children of Miguel and Diana, and grew up in Perdriel. As an infant, he was unusually active, and on recommendation of a doctor was signed up for football at the age of three. He also helped his parents with their work at a local coal yard along with his two sisters, Vanesa and Evelyn. Due to the low income his family earned, purchasing football boots and keeping up with Di María's hobby was difficult for his parents. He considers himself to be a "family man" and has used a significant amount of his salary to "give back" to his family. After being transferred to Benfica, he asked his father not to work anymore and bought a house for his parents and sisters.
Di María made his professional debut on 14 December 2005 in Rosario's final fixture of the Apertura, a 2–2 draw away to Independiente, by replacing Emiliano Vecchio. He scored for the first time on 24 November 2006 in the following season's Apertura in a 4–2 win at home over Quilmes, a minute after replacing Leonardo Borzani at half time. After playing at the Under-20 World Cup in Canada, Boca Juniors made a bid of US$6.5 million for him. He was also approached by English club Arsenal, a move that fell through due to the United Kingdom's strict rules on issuing work permits to players from outside the European Union.
Di María was transferred to Portuguese side Benfica in July 2007, where he played as a winger. 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. Di María was signed as a replacement for Benfica's departing captain, Simão, who joined Atlético Madrid earlier that summer.
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 his release fee set at a minimum of €40 million. 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 one day later 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 away against Hércules, which Real Madrid won 1–3. In the last match of pre-season, on 24 August, after an individual play described as a "magic moment," he opened the score of the 2–0 win against Peñarol for the Trofeo Santiago Bernabéu.
His league debut came on 29 August, in a 0–0 draw against Mallorca. On 18 September, Di María scored his first league goal for Real Madrid in their 1–2 away win over Real Sociedad. Ten days later, he scored his first goal in the Champions League against Auxerre in a 0–1 victory. He scored a controversial first goal against Sevilla 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 on 22 December. In the second leg of the Champions League last 16 round against Lyon, 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 5 April 2011. On 20 April, he was sent off in the 31st minute of extra time in the Copa del Rey final against rivals Barcelona. Real Madrid won the game 1–0, the lone goal of the 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 2011–12 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. Mourinho's team won the game 4–1. On 3 December 2011, Di María scored Real's first goal from a sharp angle in a 3–0 defeat of Sporting de Gijón in La Liga. He was a constant threat and presence in the starting XI as Real Madrid won their 32nd league title, playing in their 3–0 win over Athletic Bilbao that clinched the league title.
Although Di María did not have the best season, he did contribute in big moments, most notably by sending in the cross for Cristiano Ronaldo's goal against Manchester United on 13 February, in the league he provided quality assists, and scored eight goals throughout the season in 46 appearances, notably against Atlético Madrid and Málaga.
On 9 August 2012, Di María signed a new contract with Real Madrid, keeping him at the club until 2018.
On 2 October 2013, Di María scored two goals against Copenhagen in Real Madrid's 4–0 Champions League victory over them. Di María was used in a midfield position with the arrival of new manager Carlo Ancelotti.
Later in the season, due to managerial decisions by Ancelotti, Di María switched his playing position permanently to an attacking central midfielder and was frequently seen in the starting line-up next to Luka Modrić and Xabi Alonso. He contributed to the club's 1–2 victory over Barcelona in the 2014 Copa del Rey Final with the opening goal. Di María was the top assist maker in La Liga for the season, contributing 17.
In the 2014 UEFA Champions League Final on 24 May 2014, Di María dribbled past three players before producing a save from Thibaut Courtois; Di María's teammate, Gareth Bale, was there to head the rebound into the net in the 110th minute, giving Real Madrid a 2–1 lead over Atlético Madrid in an eventual 4–1 win. Di María was named man of the match by UEFA after the game, and was presented with the honour by Alex Ferguson.
Di María was an unused substitute as Real Madrid won the 2014 UEFA Super Cup against Sevilla on 12 August. A week later, in the first leg of the Supercopa de España, he played the final 15 minutes of a 1–1 home draw against Atlético in place of Luka Modrić.
On 26 August 2014, Di María signed a five-year deal with Manchester United for a transfer fee of £59.7 million, the fifth most expensive transfer of all time and the highest fee ever paid by a British club. He inherited the number 7 shirt at Manchester United, which was previously worn by club legends such as George Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Di María made his début on 30 August in a 0–0 draw with Burnley, in which he was substituted for Anderson after 70 minutes. Di María scored his first goal for United on his Old Trafford debut on 14 September, netting directly from a free kick in a 4–0 win over Queens Park Rangers. He also provided an assist for Juan Mata's goal in the same match, winning the vote for Man of the Match. His performance was highlighted by Sky Sports' Player Cam feature, which was brought back especially for the match. In the next match, against Leicester City on 21 September 2014, he again scored a goal and provided another assist although United lost the game 5–3.
On 2 October 2014, Di María won Manchester United's Player of the Month for September after racking up two goals and two assists in his first four matches for United. One week later, he won his second individual trophy at United after his goal against Leicester, in which he chipped goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, was voted as Manchester United's Goal of the Month for September. Di María continued his run of fine form on 5 October 2014 by scoring a goal and providing an assist for Radamel Falcao to help United defeat Everton 2–1. Di María was substituted with a hamstring injury 13 minutes into United's 3–0 defeat of Hull City on 29 November and subsequently made only one substitute appearance in the team's next seven matches.
On 4 January 2015, Di María returned from injury to score a late goal in a 0–2 win against Yeovil Town in the third round of the FA Cup. A week later, he was used as a forward by manager Louis van Gaal in a 0–1 home defeat to Southampton. This new role came in the midst of a bad run of form for Di María, who was said to have struggled since October. Di María was sent off on 9 March as United lost 1–2 at home against Arsenal in the FA Cup sixth round, being booked for diving and for grabbing the shirt of referee Michael Oliver, but earlier set up the equaliser by Wayne Rooney.
At season's end, Di María was judged by pundits and journalists to be among the worst signings of the season.
On 25 July 2015, Di María failed to board a flight to the United States to join Manchester United's pre-season tour as scheduled, with manager Louis van Gaal saying he "did not know why." On 2 August, it was reported that Di María would undergo a medical ahead of a move to Paris Saint-Germain, and four days later, Manchester United confirmed that he had been sold to the French champions for an undisclosed fee, believed to be around £44 million, signing a four-year contract.
On 15 September, Di María scored his first goal for PSG on his UEFA Champions League debut for the club, a 2–0 win over Malmö FF at the Parc des Princes. Seven days later, he registered his first goal in Ligue 1 as PSG defeated Guingamp 3–0.
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 Under-20s team-mates 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 quarter-final 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.
2010 FIFA World Cup
On 19 May 2010, Di María was selected by Argentina manager Diego Maradona as one of a 23-man squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. In Argentina's 5–0 friendly win over Canada on 24 May, Di María scored his first ever international goal, scoring from outside the box as his shot went off the post and in. He helped the side reach the quarter-finals, playing in all five of Argentina's matches and starting four of them.
2011 Copa América
2014 FIFA World Cup
Di María made 12 appearances during the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign and was named in Argentina's squad for the tournament finals. In Argentina's round of 16 match against Switzerland, Di María scored the only goal of the game after 118 minutes, from a Lionel Messi assist. During the quarter-final match against Belgium, Di María suffered a muscle tear in the thigh and was later taken off the field. It was later announced after the match that Di María would miss the rest of the tournament due to the injury. He had previously helped to create Gonzalo Higuaín's only goal of the match, which sent Argentina into the semi-finals. Argentina finished the tournament as runners-up to Germany.
On 3 September 2014, in a friendly away against World champions Germany, Di María had a part in all four of Argentina's goals in a 2–4 victory, assisting three and scoring one.
2015 Copa América
On 28 May 2015, Di María was named in Argentina's squad for the 2015 Copa América. On 6 June, he was selected to captain the team in the absence of Lionel Messi for a warm-up match against Bolivia, scoring twice in a 5–0 win. A week later, in their opening match of the tournament against Paraguay in La Serena, Di María won a penalty which Messi scored in a 2–2 draw. On 30 June, he scored twice and assisted a goal for Sergio Agüero, as Argentina defeated Paraguay 6–1 to reach the final. He was substituted with a hamstring injury within the first half-hour of the final against hosts Chile, which his team lost in a penalty shootout after a goalless draw.
Copa América Centenario
In Argentina's opening match of the Copa América Centenario on 6 June 2016, a rematch of the previous tournament's final against defending champions Chile, Di María scored the opening goal of the match, and later assisted Éver Banegas goal in a 2–1 win; Di María dedicated the goal to his grandmother, who had recently died. In his nation's second group match against Panama on 10 June, he assisted Nicolás Otamendi's opening goal, but was later forced off due to injury; Argentina won the match 5–0. He missed out on the rest of the tournament, as Argentina reached the Copa América final for the second consecutive time, once again losing out to Chile on penalties, following a 0–0 draw.
Style of play
Di María is a quick, tricky and talented winger who is also capable of playing as a more central attacking midfielder or on either side of the pitch, although he is predominantly a left-footed player. In recent years, he has even been deployed to great effect as a central midfielder, in particular under Carlo Ancelotti's tenure with Real Madrid. Di María is an agile, creative and highly technical player who possesses excellent dribbling skills and ball control, as well as great pace, stamina and acceleration, attributes which allow him to beat players easily in one-on-one situations. He is also gifted with excellent vision, set-piece delivery, passing, and crossing ability, which allow him to function effectively as a playmaker and as an assist provider, although he is also capable of scoring goals himself. Despite not being physically imposing, he is also a very hard-working player, and he improved on the defensive aspect of his game under manager José Mourinho.
He married fellow Argentine Jorgelina (née Cardoso) in 2011. Together they have a daughter, Mia, who was born three months premature and survived after treatment at an intensive care unit at the Hospital Universitario Montepríncipe in Madrid.
- As of match played 11 May 2016
|Rosario Central||2005–06||Argentine Primera División||10||0||0||0||—||4||0||0||0||14||0|
|Real Madrid||2010–11||La Liga||35||6||8||0||—||10||3||0||0||53||9|
|Manchester United||2014–15||Premier League||27||3||5||1||0||0||—||0||0||32||4|
|Paris Saint-Germain||2015–16||Ligue 1||28||10||3||0||4||2||8||3||0||0||43||15|
- 1 Includes Supercopa de España.
- As of match played 1 September 2016