• Premier League

Di Maria hints at Ronaldo frustration

ESPN staff
September 6, 2014
Can United play with all three at once?

Angel Di Maria says he doesn't know how long Cristiano Ronaldo will "endure it" at Real Madrid as the Manchester United new boy continued his war of words with his former club's president Florentino Perez.

Di Maria had hit out at the Madrid board after completing his move to United last month, claiming the club told "lies" in suggesting that he had been seeking to leave the Bernabeu.

The row continued on Friday when Perez told a news conference that Madrid "made the best offer you could to a football player and he didn't accept," adding: "No one was going to make that kind of money but Cristiano."

Speaking to Radio America, though, Di Maria dismissed those comments and said: "I didn't have much to do with Florentino. When I signed and renewed my contract, he wasn't present."

Ronaldo had been a prominent supporter of Di Maria's cause, and during the week he indicated that he was not happy with the European champions' transfer business this summer.

Perez played down those remarks at his news conference, insisting there were no problems with Ronaldo, but Di Maria was uncertain whether his former team-mate - who recently talked up a return to Old Trafford - would end his career in the Spanish capital.

"He [Ronaldo] was always there for me. I don't know how long he'll endure it at Madrid," Di Maria said, according to Marca.

He added: "The Madrid president said he bought James Rodriguez because I wanted to go but I never said that. Cristiano always supported me because he knew I didn't want to go, but these things happen and the club decided to bring in other players. The €75 million (£59.7m) they got through selling me was very good for the club."

He also said the club had sent a letter to the Argentine FA (AFA) on the morning of the World Cup final with Germany requesting that he sit the match out.

Di Maria had sustained a thigh injury during Argentina's quarter-final victory over Belgium, which left serious question marks over his ability to take part in the final.

"Yes, there was a letter from Madrid that arrived at about 11 o'clock on the day of the game," Di Maria said. "I was aiming to see if I could recover to play in the final, knowing that there was a risk of re-injuring myself.

"As soon as I got it, I tore it up and paid no attention."

He said the then AFA president, Julio Grondona, had received the letter but assured him that he "would take care of what might happen" financially if Di Maria played and suffered a setback.

Ultimately Di Maria played no part in the defeat to Germany, but he said it was purely down to coach Alejandro Sabella.

"I suffered a lot after hearing that I wouldn't play, but these things happen," he said. "It was Sabella's decision and he made the decision for the benefit of the team. I didn't want to leave the team a man short after five minutes."

Di Maria believes it is "impossible" that his new club, United, would prevent him linking up with the national team. "It's what I love and, whenever I'm called up by the coach, I want to be there," he said.

He said he is "very happy" in Manchester but has yet to adapt to England, with Spain international Juan Mata currently assisting him as he attempts to learn the language.

He also praised coach Louis van Gaal and is confident that, despite the club's difficult start to the season, the players will soon adapt to the Dutchman's approach, including his 3-5-2 formation.

"Van Gaal is a good coach," he said. "Playing three defenders is difficult because the players here aren't used to it, but over time things will change.

"Hopefully we can put Manchester United back where they belong."

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