Di Maria was the most dangerous player playing for Real Madrid in the 4-0 victory over Valladolid even though Bale scored 3 goals and Benzema also added one of his own from a excellent Bale cross.
Here is the thing. In the post match presser, Ancelotti did not talk about Bale or Benzema taking charge and scoring for Real Madrid in the absence of star Cristiano Ronaldo. Instead, he praised DI Maria and rightly so.
With a work ethic of a defensive midfielder and the pace of a out and out winger, Di Maria has got almost everything required to challenge the Ronaldo’s and Messi’s of this world. Obviously his shooting technique and tactical acuteness lets him down on most occasions but that does not stop him from being one of the best wingers in the world today.
He provided the cross for the first goal against Valladolid and took several neat shots at their goal in the first half. In the second half the rest of the team joined him to attack Valladolid but in the first half it was all Di Maria.
So it is disconcerting to think about the fact that it is widely believed that once Bale and Ronaldo get fit, it would be Di Maria who would get the axe and be relegated to the subs bench (and that would be tragic).
He works harder than any other player in this squad including Ronaldo and yet his contributions go largely, relatively, unnoticed.
Di Maria can cross the ball, can run with the ball and can shoot the ball (though can’t shoot that much) almost from any position. But that seems to be inadequate for a starting place in this Real Madrid squad whereas performers like Bale (who has just recently started to perform at a consistent high level) or Modric are almost guaranteed a start.
I think Ancelotti should seriously re think his image of Di Maria otherwise I don’t see Di Maria staying at Real Madrid in this condition for long. He works hard, he creates goals and he has started to score some as well but still there is no talk about him getting a better contract (which he has demanded a couple of times in the past )or a regular starting spot on the team sheet.
The only reason I can think of for this situation is Di Maria’s lack of consistency. He performed like a world beater against Galatasaray and Valladolid but rarely would you see Di Maria put 5 or 6 performances like that in a row.
On the other hand, Di Maria’s ability to close down defenders and run back to help the defensive line should not go unnoticed when he is not firing on all cylinders offensively and should be taken into consideration when deciding on whom to bench or whom to play.
Di Maria is a special player and there are lots of special clubs lurking around the corner to snatch him up on the cheap if the situation arises and he becomes unhappy.