This Is Goodbye, Not Just Adios

Posted: July 26, 2015 in Manchester United
Tags: , , , ,


Just before this time last year I was imploring Manchester United not to buy Angel Di Maria. I was reading every newspaper online as well as all the other publications I could find that were headlining that United were interested. I posted my disagreement on every one of them where comments were allowed.

I based my opposition to his purchase on a couple of things. Firstly, I live in Spain so I had seen quite a lot of him. Real Madrid, as you can imagine, is quite a popular team over here. What I had seen was nothing more than average. I had seen him cut in from the right and score a couple of decent goals with his left foot and had seen a couple of decent dribbles where he had actually beaten a player or two then put a decent cross in. Nothing to show me, (or any watching United scouts I would have thought), that he was world class and worth a fee in the region of £60 million.

What I saw far more often was a player running down blind alleys, giving the ball away cheaply, falling over and rolling around as though he had been electrocuted, missing the target with distance shots and generally being an average player in a league where, if you are Real Madrid, you will always challenge for the title with, usually, one or two other teams so hardly the most competitive.

I was amazed at how much the United fans actually wanted him to sign but, when he did, I was prepared to give him a chance.

As is often the case with new signings he started off reasonably well, not as well as van Persie in his first season for example, but he did OK. Then, as I expected unfortunately, the wheels fell off and we all know what has transpired since.

People still use the Champions League final as an example of the heights Di Maria can reach but you have to remember, it wasn’t a very good match and Di Maria, to be absolutely honest, was the best of a bad bunch. I am, unfortunately, old enough to have watched Manchester United win the European Cup in 1968. For you trivia fans, who was man of the match that night? Bobby Charlton scored two goals, Brian Kidd scored on his 19th birthday, George Best scored one of his trademark goals and Alex Stepney kept United in the game with THAT save from Eusebio. Man of the match, however, was Johnny Aston. He was United’s left winger and was virtually faultless throughout the game. He had never played that well before that night and he never would again. Proof, if any were needed, that every dog has it’s day.

The fact that Di Maria is an international doesn’t really mean as much as it used to. Again, he has very good players around him and Argentina don’t have a massive choice of wingers. So, the fans who quote the fact that he played well in a Champions League final and is an international for Argentina are right, but this for me is not enough evidence that he is worth the fee United paid for him.

Of course he is now starting to show his true colours. Had it not been for the Financial Fair Play restrictions placed on PSG last year, Di Maria would already be their player and none of the fiasco at United would have happened. He wanted to go to Paris and they wanted him but they had just spent in the region of 50 million euros on David Luiz from Chelsea so they couldn’t buy anybody else. Conspiracy theorists have already determined that United was a stopover and that Di Maria had already verbally agreed to do all he could to join PSG the following year. This may or may not be true but the fact remains that the way Di Maria has behaved, whilst not unexpected, still leaves a sour taste. He was even reported in one paper as having asked for a pay rise to join PSG. Based on what!!!!?

Di Maria’s first choice, apparently, would be a move back to Real Madrid but for some reason they don’t want him. Is it perhaps that they actually don’t think he is world class and that’s why they sold him in the first place?

If he isn’t careful with his security he will be burgled in Paris. Initially, he will be welcomed by PSG fans but, if he isn’t wary of what he says and does, that won’t last. Telling United fans he wants to stay and fight for his place while trying to sneak out of the back door is not the behaviour of a professional sportsman who is supposed to be a role model.

In conclusion what has happened, unfortunately, is more or less as I expected and, in wishing him well for the future I feel I also should say, goodbye and good riddance.

  1. JackP says:

    Fair comment. John[ny] Aston was one of the most unpopular players in United’s history judging by fan reaction at the time [which I remember]. He was by common consent ‘useless’. Busby persisted with him out of loyalty to his father, John Sr, in the opinion of many. It’s mystifying why LVG, an experienced coach, endorsed Di Maria’s transfer if what you and one or two others were saying at the time had any substance to it, but there’s a collective psychology at work and a momentum to these things in many ways. The book ‘Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds’ covers the range of human folly rather well in that respect. Nice article. Thanks.


    • Thanks for the comment. Yes, back in the day, many of us in the Stretford End gave a collective groan when Aston’s name was read out. I Think he was tolerated, (to an extent), by the United fans for the same reason as Busby played him, which as you said was in honour of his father who, as you will know, was one of the first on the teamsheet that began: Crompton, Carey, Aston………
      I’m not 100% convinced that LVG actually did endorse Di Maria’s move. If you remember it was just after Ed Woodward had told the world that money was no object to United and, therefore, immediately raised the asking price of any player United were likely to be interested in. He then set about proving what he had just said by vastly overpaying for Di Maria. I have a feeling that LVG was just told the deal was done and this also may be why he doesn’t seem to care a jot that Di Maria is leaving.


  2. Liliane says:

    Correct Di Maria fell out with Florentino Perez and it was a chance for Ed to back his words. If he could have gone to PSG that was his 1st choice. Time to put it behind us.


  3. Alpha86 says:

    Completely agree with you on Di Maria. Just like you I have never really been a fan of him, and I was against Man Utd signing him, especially for such an outrageous price. My biggest problem with him has always been that for all his talent and impressive dribbling skills, he was very bad at maintaining possession for his team. Most of his passes are very risky and reckless, when they come off they look fantastic, unfortunately most times they don’t and it just looks plain silly. As for LVG sanctioning the purchase or not, I don’t think we can say for sure because before that deal was done, LVG was speaking to the media saying he would like to have a world class winger like Di Maria. So who knows if he actually was all in on the deal, but later realized that he was never going to a good fit for the system he was trying to implement.


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