Angel Di Maria has revealed that talks with Cristiano Ronaldo convinced him to join Manchester United in the summer.
The Argentina international had been courted by Louis van Gaal after being put up for sale by Real Madrid. Florentino Perez had invested heavily in World Cup star James Rodriguez and had to sell Di Maria to balance the books.
Manchester United were the only club interested in Di Maria after PSG dropped out for financial reasons. A £59.7 million offer–enough to break the British transfer record–was accepted.
However, Di Maria was still contracted to Real Madrid and could have chosen to reject a move to Old Trafford. Thanks to Ronaldo, the 26-year-old decided that a move to Manchester United would be good for his career.
“Before we knew I was coming to Manchester, he told me it’s a massive club, I would be very happy here and it would be good for me," Di Maria is quoted in The Express as saying.
"At that time we didn’t know for sure that I was coming or not, so we didn’t go into great detail, but what he did say helped me greatly to make my decision.”
Di Maria has started his Manchester United career well, scoring three goals and assisting three more in his opening five Premier League games. That form has gone a long way to not only justifying his record-breaking fee, but also his occupation of the famous no.7 shirt.
The shirt was previously worn by Ronaldo as well as other Manchester United legends David Beckham and Eric Cantona. Di Maria says wearing the shirt just adds to his motivation.
He added: “It is a source of motivation.
"When you wear a shirt that’s been worn by the likes of David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo, it’s something you’re always going to be pleased about.
“The fact that the club have chosen to give me that shirt number also gives me a huge confidence boost, so that’s why I’m very happy to have this number.”
There has been plenty of speculation that Ronaldo would return to Old Trafford to join his former teammate. However, after months of speculation, the player's agent Jorge Mendes confirmed that Ronaldo is likely to see out the rest of his career at Real Madrid.
“Cristiano is very happy at Real Madrid and has always been very happy,” Mendes said.
“He’s going to break all the records with Real Madrid and he’s going to retire here. He has a lot of love for United because his heart was there for six years, but now he’s only thinking about Real Madrid and he’s going to stay here forever.