This week's Champions League clash between Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain marked Angel di Maria’s first return to the Bernabeu, since his move to Manchester United last season.
At the time, it ranked as a very poor decision among Madridistas to let him go, and his recent exploits will do nothing to ail their doubts after the winger played a starring role.
His PSG side were narrowly beaten thanks to an unlikely goal from Nacho Fernandez, but Di Maria was the player picking up all the plaudits post-match.
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Although - to Madrid’s relief - the Argentine didn’t find the back of the net, he twice came extremely close to beating Keylor Navas. First, directly from an inswinging corner which struck the post, and then from a dramatic late free-kick that rattled the crossbar.
He was also a creative force, as his incisive through ball left Cavani with the goal at his mercy, but the striker subsequently fluffed his lines.
PSG were toothless in front of goal, which prevented them from getting anything out of a game they controlled.
"We were ten times better than them tonight," Di Maria said, as he spoke to Marca after the match.
"We played our best game of the season but we made a mistake and they punished us. I'm still convinced we can do big things this season."
Exhibiting the flair which once made him a fan favourite, his quick dancing feet left Isco spectacularly flailing on the ground at one point. Laurent Blanc reserved a word of praise for the Argentine attacker:
"He was spectacular tonight and was excellent in the last league game too. He offered a lot going forward but also defensively," he was quoted in the Daily Mail.
After a tough time under Louis van Gaal with Manchester United, where he was benched frequently, he made the move across the channel to join PSG.
The talented winger has played a starring role in the Parisians last three matches, with stellar performances against Rennes and Saint-Etienne in recent league matches.
Since his move to France, the 27-year-old has notched three goals and three assists in eight matches; his form has been reminiscent of that which convinced United to splash a record £59 million on the then Madrid player.
Before yesterday’s game, Di Maria revealed it was never his wish to leave Spain:
“It was always my intention to stay [at Madrid], never to go, I don’t know much about what went on there behind closed doors, that’s stuff the agents deal with,” Di Maria told Marca.
“I left Madrid the way I left but what I took with me was the fantastic moment of that final applause at the Bernabéu, and I feel okay with that.”
After a tumultuous 12 months, Di Maria seems to have finally settled in Paris, putting in performances which will see him sorely missed in both Manchester and Madrid.
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