Two of the biggest flops in the Premier League over the last five years have arguably been Angel di Maria and Radamel Falcao.
They arrived at Manchester United in 2014 with big reputations after their respective spells at Real and Atletico Madrid and it looked like new manager Louis van Gaal was well on his way to a winning formula.
Of course, we know now it turned out to be a disastrous move for both of them and they were allowed to leave after just a single season at Old Trafford.
Di Maria started brightly with three goals from his first five Premier League games but as the season progressed, his form declined and it was clear he just wasn’t a big fan of living in Manchester.
Falcao had only just recovered from a serious injury upon his arrival so to expect him to hit the ground running might have been a little unfair. Nevertheless, six goals was a poor return from the forward.
However, you can see Van Gaal’s initial logic behind both players but the Premier League can be cruel to those who aren’t fully prepared for it.
Even Cristiano Ronaldo had expected the duo to have a big impact on the Red Devils.
The former Old Trafford favourite was asked for his opinion on United’s two signings shortly after they had been unveiled and Ronaldo had every confidence they would turn his old club’s season around.
“Last season was a horrible season and this season they didn’t start well too but I think they did well to buy Di Maria and now Falcao and I think the team’s going to be much better.” Ronaldo said – see the interview below.
“He’s [Falcao] is a very, very good player so I think Manchester [will] do very well.
“I think he’s going to do fantastic because Manchester did not start good, three games and two points so they need quality players and Falcao is a quality player and Di Maria too.”
Well, CR7 probably got half of his prediction right.
Di Maria (at Paris Saint-Germain) and Falcao (at Monaco) have both shown their true ability since leaving the Premier League.
The Colombian’s revival, in particular, has been staggering and his role as the spearhead of a frightening Monaco attack is one of the big factors behind their success.
However, Ronaldo can’t hide away from the fact neither were a success at his former club.
Although United qualified for the Champions League that year, they were far from convincing and still 17 points behind the champions Chelsea.
Even with Jose Mourinho now in charge, Premier League success has been hard to come by this season and the daunting prospect of another year without UCL football is a very realistic possibility.
So perhaps Di Maria and Falcao shouldn’t feel quite so bad they were unable to find their feet at Man United.