Real Madrid stars earn Wenger praise

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Real Madrid winger Angel di Maria, a player with enduring transfer links to Arsenal, has earned praise from Arsene Wenger, along with his teammates Luka Modric and Xabi Alonso.

The Arsenal manager was speaking to EuroSport ahead of the Champions League last 16 second leg encounter between Real Madrid and Schalke, and described both Di Maria and Modric as players capable of changing any game. Wenger also identified Alonso as the 'brains' of the Real Madrid operation.

"They have Alonso who is, for me, very much the brains of the team [and] he has on his side two players who can switch the game with Modric and Di Maria," Wenger explained.

Di Maria was frequently linked with a transfer to Arsenal during the last summer transfer window, with the Gunners reported to have been pursuing both he and then teammate Mesut Ozil. It was Ozil who arrived at the Emirates Stadium in a club record deal, but Arsenal may yet revive their interest in Di Maria.

Links with Arsenal have persisted in the months to follow although, given Di Maria's improved performances this season, Real Madrid have reportedly informed potential suitors that it would take €40 million to prise the Argentina from the Santiago Bernabeu.

Di Maria has scored nine goals and provided 13 assists in all competitions for Real Madrid this term.

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