Financially, selling Di Maria makes sense. The £59.7 million sale coupled with the £20 million they recouped from Alvaro Morata’s move to Juventus would be enough to more or less balance the books after an expensive summer spending spree.
But for purely footballing purposes, losing the Argentine is a big blow to Real Madrid, even with the signing of James Rodriguez.
Di Maria didn’t play in either of Real Madrid’s Supercup legs against Atletico Madrid, as speculation about his future continued to build. It was evident that Real were in need of a player of his quality to try and influence proceedings.
What Di Maria brought to the table few in a Madrid shirt could. He was a catalyst, where a single driving run or pass from midfield could part the staunchest of defences. Being voted man on the match in the Champions League final is indicative of his abilities at the highest level.
The fruits Di Maria efforts were also not present against Cordoba on Monday. Despite a 2-0 win, Los Merengues failed to sparkle against lowly opposition. For large periods of the match, Madrid found it difficult to break down their opponents, and is likely to be the case throughout this season.
Did Di Maria have to leave?
Ancelotti will no doubt regret the loss of one of his star player, however in truth, it is unlikely to be the fault of the Italian. Florentino Perez’s seemingly unsatisfiable urge to sign a ‘Galactico’ each season takes its toll on existing players at the club.
Many expected Di Maria to be the victim of Gareth Bale’s arrival, with the two likely to occupy the same position. However the winger reinvented himself as an energetic box-to-box midfielder, as Ancelotti converted to a 4-3-3 formation. There he was able to put his powers of creativity to use and recorded the highest number of league assists.
But now Madrid have acquired two quality World Cup stars with a propensity to play in the middle of the pitch, edging out the Argentine as well as Isco.
Ancelotti left with dilemma
Ancelotti is granted access to the world’s very best players in the world, but is tasked with managing them and keeping them happy, which increases in difficulty with each passing season. He could not play them all in the same side, but nor could he leave his world class starts on the bench match after match.
It is likely that not too many Madridistas would have been too disappointed had Ancelotti refrained from dipping into the transfer market altogether this season; such was the quality and depth of their squad. And yet, while neither, Ancelotti, Cristiano Ronaldo, or Di Maria himself wanted him to leave, the 26-year-old finds himself 900 miles away in Manchester.
Real will survive without the Argentine magician, and James Rodriguez will thrive in his absence. However there will be times this season where Ancelotti will wish he could call upon the talents of Angel Di Maria.