Angel di Maria admits to struggles, but commits future to Manchester United
Manchester United winger Angel di Maria has admitted his debut season in England has not gone according to plan.
The Argentine has not been included in United’s starting eleven since he was dismissed during the club’s FA Cup quarter-final defeat to Arsenal in March.
Less than a year from his signing, speculation is the player could be on his way out of Old Trafford, with Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid as possible destinations.
However, in an interview with the British tabloid the Daily Mirror, Di Maria pledged his long term future to the club and insisted his goal was to achieve domestic and European success in Manchester.
United acquired the 27-year-old from Real Madrid for a British transfer record fee of £59.7 million in August 2014.
The Argentina international was immediately given the club’s iconic No.7 shirt, made famous by club legends as George Best, Bryan Robson, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo.
While his first few months in the Premier League went smoothly, Di Maria has fallen short of the lofty expectations which accompanied his price tag and world class pedigree.
The Argentine does have 10 Premier League assists – which leaves him second to Chelsea’s Cesc Fabregas in that category. However, with two games to play, the Argentine has just three goals in 26 league appearances.
Part of the winger’s issues in England could stem from an incident in February which saw Di Maria’s home broken into by thieves while the Argentine was eating dinner with his family.
But Di Maria refused to use the traumatic event as an excuse. Instead, the player pointed the finger at himself when asked about his tumultuous first year in England.
“I’m not happy with my first year in England,” the Argentine told the Daily Mirror. “I moved here from Real to win titles and this season has been very bad for me. I’m frustrated because I want to do better.
“The fans in England have not seen the real Di Maria. I know I can offer a better level. This year was not good enough.
“Adapting to English football is not easy. People told me the first year for a foreigner here is hard. And that’s true.
“My challenge is not for one year, but to become part of the history of Manchester United.
“The stadium is unique, the fans sensational – it is a fantastic club. My only frustration is that we haven’t offered the fans our best face every week. My dream at United is still to win the Premier League and Champions League.”
Di Maria went on to thank Wayne Rooney for helping him during his difficult debut season.
“Rooney is a leader and has spoken many times with me this season,” he concluded. “He has helped me so much to learn about the club.
“Man United is always required to fight for the Premier League – just like it is for Real Madrid or Barcelona in Spain.
“Next year we want to do more. I think you’ll see that we’ll be there.”
Programming note: Manchester United vs. Arsenal will be shown LIVE on Sunday at 11:00am EST on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra.