Real Madrid were prepared to sanction the sale of Angel di Maria to Manchester United because the Argentina did not to enough to enhance the club’s brand and, in turn, establish himself as an ‘untouchable’ at the Santiago Bernabeu.
This is the opinion of former Real Madrid defender Christoph Metzelder who believes that Di Maria, as with many other Los Blancos players, was considered dispensable because he does not possess a star quality comparative to Cristiano Ronaldo.
Di Maria was arguably Real Madrid’s best player for the second part of last season, during which they of course won the Champions League, yet he was pushed out somewhat following the acquisitions of James Rodriguez and Toni Kross after both impressed at the World Cup.
It this Galactico policy implemented by Florentino Perez that will continue to see players of repute cast aside following the latest significant acquisition, as happened with Di Maria and, a year before, Mesut Ozil after the arrival of Gareth Bale.
Shirt sales and star appeal do not endure for all and, claims Metzelder, it is only those that retain this allure that remain at Madrid for the long-term, as is the case with Ronaldo, Iker Casillas and few others.
"They are the best team in Europe as Champions League winners, yet they keep bringing in new players for crucial positions,” the German, who played for Madrid between 2007 and 2010, told Kicker.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the few untouchables, plus some of the Spain internationals. All of the others are interchangeable.
"When a player makes a name for himself at a tournament, that immediately makes him an interesting option for Madrid. Real Madrid are a global brand and it's about building your brand as much as it is about football.
"Angel Di Maria did not do enough for Madrid's brand. But if you'd asked his team-mates, they would probably all have said that Madrid should have held on to him. It was the same for Mesut Ozil last year.”
Di Maria prospects
Di Maria’s loss to Madrid was certainly a significant gain for Manchester United, even if they paid £59.7 million, and the 26-year-old will enjoy the level of status that was not afforded to him in the Spanish capital, despite his performances.
The attacker is, of course, Manchester United’s club record signing - coming in at over £20 million more than Juan Mata - and has also been handed the most esteemed of shirts at Old Trafford, the No.7.
It is now down to the player to establish himself as an icon of this new era at Manchester United, and he certainly has both the potential and personality to do so. Real Madrid may well live to regret this one.
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