Wayne Rooney believes Angel Di Maria ‘could have been a major star’ at Man Utd.
Di Maria became United’s club-record signing and the most expensive player in British football history when he joined from Real Madrid for £59.7m in summer 2014, soon after Louis van Gaal’s appointment as manager.
The winger impressed initially but ended up struggling, scoring four goals, assisting 12 and lasting just one season at Old Trafford before being sold to PSG.
Ranking the 16 British record signings since 1992
He was later described as “talented but a complete fanny” by an unnamed former teammate.
Rooney was even said to have once had ‘a proper argument’ with the Argentinean in the dressing room but on the eve of his and PSG’s Champions League final against Bayern Munich, the Derby captain paid tribute to Di Maria.
‘He’s a wonderful player,’ he wrote in his column for The Sunday Times. ‘When he came to United I remember Louis van Gaal saying to the team: “He is the only one who is allowed to dribble with the ball.”
‘Angel works tirelessly on the pitch and his delivery, vision and awareness is brilliant. He could have been a major star at United but at the time we were going through a bit of a transition and it was tough for him to settle. He had young kids and lived a couple of houses down from me and someone tried to burgle him. I remember that really shook him and his family.
‘From then on, really, you knew it was going to be tough for him and it was probably better for him to leave.’
Di Maria had such a difficult time that PSG teammate Marcin Bulka recently said he now “hates” the club and “when something related to Man Utd appears on television, it changes soon”.
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