Angel di Maria names Branislav Ivanovic as toughest opponent

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Manchester United star Angel di Maria has named Chelsea right-back Branislav Ivanovic as the toughest opponent he has faced this season.

This is according to the Independent’s chief sportswriter Ian Herbert, who quotes Di Maria as explaining why he selected the underrated Serbia international.

“Strong, powerful, quality going forward,” were the three reasons why the world-class Argentina international believes Chelsea’s first-choice right-back has been his toughest opponent since joining the Red Devils.

Di Maria faced Ivanovic in October

Di Maria went head-to-head with Ivanovic back in October, when United earned a last-gasp 1-1 draw against Chelsea thanks to a 94th-minute strike by Robin van Persie.

Ivanovic was sent off a minute earlier for a foul on Di Maria but still did enough over the course of the match to leave a lasting impression on the Argentine, who has struggled at Old Trafford since completing his £59.7 million move from Real Madrid last summer.

Di Maria's Man United struggle continues

Di Maria himself was sent off during Monday night’s FA Cup quarter-final defeat to Arsenal for grabbing the shirt of referee Michael Oliver.

In what proved to be yet another disappointing evening for the South American gem, who is struggling to adapt to life in England, serious questions are now being asked about Di Maria’s long-term future at Old Trafford.

Injuries certainly haven’t helped his progress, while the physiological impact of last month’s attempted burglary at his £4.1 million Prestbury mansion cannot be understated.

The property in question was put up for sale at the weekend, as speculation claiming Di Maria could leave Manchester United as early as this summer intensified.

PSG keen to sign Di Maria

French champions Paris Saint-Germain are understood to be keen to sign Di Maria, but not for any fee higher than £49 million.

United fans are desperate for the former Real Madrid star, who was named Man of the Match during last season’s Champions League final in Lisbon, to rediscover his best form before the end of the season.

They know Di Maria is a world-class performer but haven’t seen the versatile midfielder at his brilliant best since September.

Di Maria's time at United could be over this summer

Ironically, Di Maria performed reasonably well last night and produced the sublime whipped in cross which resulted in Wayne Rooney’s first-half equaliser.

But all his hard work was undone by a moment of madness after being booked for diving.

Frustrated that the decision failed to get his way, Di Maria stood up and grabbed the back of Oliver’s shirt - leaving the referee with no option but to brandish the red card.

Manchester United fans: do you believe Di Maria will leave Old Trafford this summer? Do you believe he wants to be at the club? Have your say in the comments below!

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Branislav Ivanovic
Premier League
Manchester United
Angel di Maria

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