Celebrating in France, the Paris Saint-Germain players picked up another Ligue 1 title, this time under a record number of game weeks. PSG were always the favourites for the title and winning against lowly Troyes 9-0 certainly proved that they are the best in the league and there is a wide gap between them and the rest of the competition.
There was one player who seemed to enjoy a routine league triumph more than anyone else and that was Angel Di Maria. The Argentine had just joined the French club at the start of the season after his reputation took a big hit with his ill-fated time at Manchester United.
A star fading away
Di Maria had joined Manchester United after speaking out about the lack of his importance at Real Madrid. United paid a record fee of close to 60 million pounds but all was not right for the 28-year-old.
The former Real Madrid star did have a good start under Louis van Gaal as he scored on his Old Trafford debut and also won the man-of-the-match award for his role in the 4-0 thrashing of QPR. In the next match, he again scored and provided an assist in a losing cause.
Not bad for a player who didn’t really have a lot of experience playing in tough conditions such as the ones in the Premier League but then things started to go bust. He had a fallout with the manager who didn’t want to play him in games, injuries and a lack of form sent him down the road where he moved to France just after a year in England.
Di Maria could argue that he was not played in his rightful place in Manchester United and now he has a greater freedom at PSG. He scored 13 goals this season for PSG and has even provided 13 assist in various competitions for the side, not bad for someone trying tor resurrect his career.
PSG always had the quality they needed to win the title but Di Maria has taken them to another level. The loss of Ezequiel Lavezzi to the Chinese Super League isn’t being felt as greatly as many would have thought with the other Argentine picking up the slack.
Di Maria’s freedom to drift about in attack and support the team has led to his largest goal tally in a single season, even after comparing his seasons at Real Madrid and Benfica. United on the other hand have struggled for creativity this season and well even after spending big on Depay and Martial, they just don’t seem to have the cutting edge.
Depay, after an incredible start to his career, has mellowed down at Old Trafford. He hasn’t started in his last five games for the team and has seen his place taken over by Jesse Lingard, who himself hasn’t been the greatest player this season for United.
Juan Mata’s influence in the side has reduced as well. Though he is the one who seems to do most of the good work in attack but his performances pale in comparison to Di Maria’s. The 28-year-old is the present and future of PSG, especially due to the move away of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
PSG might have spent a great amount on Di Maria but it was money well spent. The French club has their future well planned out and with Di Maria leading the line and playing out of his skin; he could well help the Qatar funder side lift the Champions League sometime soon.