Why would DI Maria leave Real Madrid (European Champions and statistically the greatest club in Europe i.e the world) for Manchester United who would not be even playing Champions League this season.
For starters it is because Real Madrid had pecuniary issues with Di Maria’s agent about how should the player of his calibre be remunerated. Nobody plays football for fun it seems and why should anyone, given the amount of sacrifice professional football requires.
Di Maria was Real Madrid’s 11nth best paid player last season and Real Madrid hierarchy intended to keep it that way which was obviously a mistake (and a disgrace). Di Maria’s contributions to the team last season certainly merited a contract upgrade to the likes of, if not Ronaldo, Benzema or Bale.
Anyway, Di Maria has just signed for Manchester United. It is official and here are the reasons why I think Di Maria has made the same mistake as Ozil made when he thought he was good enough to leave Real Madrid for individualistic reasons and get away with it as a glorified world beater (for di Maria that remains to be seen):
- As mentioned before. Manchester United is just not an elite club anymore. It won’t challenge for any major trophy this season and quite frankly has not been since Ferguson left. Even with Ferguson Manchester barely held its own in the list of elite clubs of Europe. The lows Manchester United had it under Ferguson (one or two times though) and the lows Moyes brought Manchester United to are things which you would never ever experience as a Real Madrid player or fan.
- Di Maria is a great winger. Fast and quick in his decision making. There is one problem. He cannot finish off plays. If you don’t have a Ronaldo, Bale, Benzema or Messi (as in the case of Real Madrid and Argentina) playing with Di Maria, he is not half the player he is with them. Di Maria is mistaken (judging by the comments so are some Manchester United fans) to think that he can just go to Manchester United and lift the club up like Messi, Ronaldo or even Ibrahimovic. Pele once said (probably known to all who follow football) that the hardest thing to do in football is to score a goal and having played college level soccer myself, it is true. Guess what, Di Maria cannot score a goal. For a player whose highest tally of goals is 11 (in 52 games along with 24 assists) Manchester United have certainly paid over the odds. Arsenal saw something similar with Ozil. Point that I want to keep getting back to is that Manchester United (And Arsenal) need to sign a world class striker or someone like a Ronaldinho to allow Di Maria to fully make his impact on a game, any game. Without that Di Maria would be at Manchester United what Ozil is at Arsenal. Always there but just missed it by a whisker.
- Di Maria had been asking for a improved contract since the day he came to Real Madrid. Whether he deserved it or not (he deserved it in my view, given that a lot of players played shit football for Real Madrid last season who were being paid more than Di Maria) is another question. For Manchester United the point to ponder over is, is Di Maria a mercenary? No long term commitment to a club or a project. That is always dangerous as it is likely to disrupt a team’s balance of play when a player leaves due to contractual reasons and that player is as good as Di Maria.
Di Maria is a good player but he is no Ronaldo, Messi or Ibrahimovic. He would not be able to carry Manchester United with his pace and skill as Ronaldo and Messi have carried Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively.