Angel Di Maria was the deserving recipient of the Man of the Match award for his performance in Paris Saint-Germain’s 3-0 victory over RB Leipzig on Tuesday night.
The Argentine scored and set up the other two goals as PSG advanced to their first ever Champions League final.
“We are very happy. We produced a great match, we wanted to enter into the club’s history and we succeeded in taking PSG to the Champions League final,” Di Maria told RMC Sport, per Get French Football News, after the match. “It was very important for us to make it there. If we continue like today, that could help us in the final.
“I think that we made RB Leipzig weak. We played at 100% We knew that with this enormous energy that we had, we could qualify. The start of the match was good, and we held on right until the last.
“It is going to be difficult to sleep tonight, thinking about the final. The most important thing will be working on the match, we are going to do that each day. We see clearly in any case that the French league is of the required standard. Whoever the opponent is, we are going to have to recover but we will give the maximum.”
The last time Di Maria featured in a Champions League final, he received the Man of the Match award from Manchester United legend Sir Alex Ferguson.
But just weeks after his brilliant performance for Real Madrid against Atletico Madrid in the 2014 final, Di Maria left the Bernabeu for Manchester United.
The Argentina international hit the ground running at Old Trafford but his performance levels and confidence rapidly deteriorated under the management of Louis van Gaal.
An attempted robbery at his house, which left his young family traumatised, was the final straw for Di Maria, who forced a move to PSG after just one ill-fated season with the Red Devils.
Would things have been different if United had a different head coach in charge at the time? It’s possible. Van Gaal’s style of football didn’t suit Di Maria and vice-versa.
And while United fans don’t particularly like the guy following the manner of his 2015 departure, they’re acutely aware that he’s a top-class footballer.
In fact, Di Maria is one of a handful of players that United may very well regret selling over the past few years.
Let’s take a look at a few others…
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must wish he’d tried harder to convince Romelu Lukaku to stay put at Old Trafford last summer.
The Belgian striker, who blew hot and cold during his two-year spell with the Red Devils, has scored a career-best 33 goals in 50 games for Inter this season and could finish the season with a Europa League winners’ medal.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s final signing, Wilfried Zaha was let down by David Moyes after moving to Old Trafford in 2013.
For whatever reason, Moyes failed to give Zaha a fair crack of the whip. He made just four appearances during the 2013-14 campaign before heading to Cardiff City on loan.
The Ivory Coast international is now being linked with the likes of PSG and Borussia Dortmund as he seeks to complete a big-money transfer.
Memphis Depay clearly had talent in abundance, hence why Man Utd handed the Dutch winger the club’s iconic No. 7 shirt in 2015.
He showed flashes of brilliance but was too inconsistent at the time to hold down a regular spot in United’s starting line-up.
That said, United may wish they’d stuck by Memphis for longer. He might be a Champions League winner by the end of the weekend.
Zlatan enjoyed an excellent debut campaign at Old Trafford, scoring 28 goals in 46 games. However, he was limited to just seven appearances the following season after suffering a serious injury.
Many people thought the mercurial Swedish forward was finished, but the great man came back even stronger and went on to score a remarkable 53 goals in 58 games for LA Galaxy.
The 38-year-old returned to AC Milan this season and netted 11 goals in 20 games.
He would have been a fantastic option off the bench in recent years.
Most United fans were gutted to see the tenacious Ander Herrera leave Old Trafford for PSG in 2019.
He got what it meant to play for Man Utd and loved the club.
The Spaniard now has the opportunity to end his first season away from the Red Devils with a Champions League winners’ medal.
Rafael Da Silva
Rafael was a popular member of the United squad under Ferguson, with both his teammates and the fans, but Van Gaal didn’t rate him. This led to the Brazilian moving to Lyon in 2015.
Alongside the aforementioned Depay, Rafael could win the Champions League this weekend if Lyon advance past Bayern Munich on Wednesday night.
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