Angel Di Maria put together the type of match Wedneday vs. Germany that is usually reserved for games of FIFA on XBox or PlayStation. The Argentine dynamo tallied three assists and scored in Argentina’s 4-2 thumping of Germany Wednesday in Düsseldorf. All the highlights are meshed together in the clip atop the post, but my personal favorite is the assist on the first goal which teed up Sergio Agüero. Getting that much bend on a ball from the outside of your foot? Ridiculous.
Di Maria also teed up Erik Lamela and Federico Fernandez, adding a chip over Manuel Neuer for goal measure in a Messi-esque display at the Esprit Arena.
Argentina’s win hardly makes up for Germany’s triumph in the World Cup final in July. In fact, it probably aggravates fans of La Albiceleste even more since Di Maria missed the final through injury.
Still, performances like this are part of the reason Manchester United didn’t mind forking over a British record of close to $100 million to Real Madrid for his services. The move already looks like it may cause a seismic shift among European soccer’s elites. Real Madrid, despite its bevvy of stars including Cristiano Ronaldo, James Rodriguez and Gareth Bale, will miss Di Maria’s industrious engine in the center of the field. Di Maria’s ability to move from a wing position and into a central role helped the club claim its 10th Champions League title in May.
Real Madrid still have oodles of glitz and glamour, but after moving Di Maria and Xabi Alonso the club lacks much of its midfield grit and drive.
What Di Maria brings to Manchester United is much less clear at the moment. Performances like this on Wednesday certainly have Red Devils fans dreaming of the possibility of what Di Maria and fellow new-signing Falcao can do. If nothing else, Di Maria should immediately take over set piece duty at Old Trafford. Due to the international break, United fans will have to wait until Sept. 14 to see Di Maria play again for the Red Devils.
Wherever United manager Louis van Gaal settles on playing Di Maria, this much is certain: he’s a clear upgrade over the likes of Tom Cleverly, Ashley Young and the since-departed Nani.