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Di Maria hailed as among world's best five players

ESPN staff
September 4, 2014
Angel Di Maria set up three and scored one as Argentina beat Germany © Getty Images

Argentina coach Gerard Martino claims Manchester United's new record-breaking £59 million signing Angel Di Maria is one of the best five players in the world.

The forward made a stunning impact in the friendly re-run of the World Cup final against Germany on Wednesday night, setting up Argentina's first three goals and scoring with a classy finish in the second half in a 4-2 victory in Dusseldorf.

Di Maria fears for City? No way

Pablo Zabaleta laughed at the suggestion City would be worried © Getty Images
  • Argentina's Javier Mascherano and Pablo Zabaleta both described Angel Di Maria's performance against Germany as "fantastic", but the Manchester City defender insisted the stunning performance would not have left his club concerned about the winger prompting a revival for rivals Manchester United.
  • "No, no" Zabaleta laughed. "We're not worried about that. We're not worried."

Di Maria's performance won widespread praise and even drew the two country's coaches into a disagreement over whether the outcome of their defeat in Rio may have been different if Di Maria, who was injured, had played.

"Di Maria is one of the best four or five players in the world and so his performance didn't surprise me," Martino said. "His absence there [at the World Cup final] was noticeable."

The game was Argentina's first under new manager Gerardo Martino. The former Barcelona coach took over from Alejandro Sabella, who resigned soon after the last game between the sides, and Manchester City's Pablo Zabaleta claimed it was the start of a new era.

"After the World Cup final we wanted to come here and show team spirit again and try to win the game," he said. "It's always special when you play against top teams.

"We played a great game. Obviously it was important for us to win today. It was the first game of Tata Martino with the national team, our first contact with him and his staff. Everything was really positive."

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