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Man United stars explain how Angel Di Maria flopped at Old Trafford



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Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney have said their theories as to why Ángel Di María never settled at Old Trafford.

Di María, 36, joined United from Real Madrid in the summer of 2014 whilst Louis van Gaal was at the helm and stayed for just one turbulent season at Old Trafford.

The Argentine who now plies his trade at Benfica, who currently boast the talent of João Neves in the midfield a player seen by Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS as a potential replacement for Casemiro, never really got going in Manchester scoring just four times in 32 appearances but totalled an impressive 12 assists.

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This unselfish nature of providing for his teammates is seen by Rio Ferdinand as one of the reasons why Di María wasn’t a success for the Red Devils despite his £59.7 million price tag.

Speaking on BT Sport in 2020, the former United captain said, “He brings that co-star element. I think there’s players that want to be the star, want to be the main man.

“I think this guy is a player that is happy playing back-up, being the co-star to the superstars. He’s done it at Real Madrid with [Cristiano] Ronaldo, Argentina with [Lionel] Messi, and now we’re seeing it here with the guys [Kylian] Mbappe and Neymar. 

“Look at those stats, the most assists since 2015, I think it was, second only to Messi in the top five leagues, and this guy is a fantastic footballer. It didn’t work out for him at Manchester United, and I think there he was asked to be the creative force, the main man, and that doesn’t suit him.”

Despite being in the twilight of his illustrious career, this supporting actor role mentioned by Ferdinand is allowing Di María to flourish for Benfica this season. So far, the Portuguese giant has netted 15 times and assisted 10 goals in all competitions.

Wayne Rooney also added his thoughts on the former United man’s time at the club alluding to his obvious talents, but went on to say in his column for the Sunday Times that the city of Manchester had an effect on the player.

“He’s a wonderful player, when he came to United I remember Louis van Gaal saying to the team: ‘He is the only one who is allowed to dribble with the ball.

“Angel works tirelessly on the pitch and his delivery, vision and awareness is brilliant. He could have been a major star at United but at the time we were going through a bit of a transition and it was tough for him to settle.

“He had young kids and lived a couple of houses down from me and someone tried to burgle him. I remember that really shook him and his family. From then on, really, you knew it was going to be tough for him and it was probably better for him to leave.”