Manchester United have been doing their utmost to secure Cristiano Ronaldo’s favourite shirt number on his return to Old Trafford and Angel Di Maria has revealed his true feelings about the club’s special digit
Angel Di Maria has launched an extraordinary attack on his former club Manchester United, claiming he didn’t “give a f***” about taking the club’s famous No.7 shirt number.
The Red Devils shelled out a club-record £59.7million fee to sign the winger from Real Madrid in August 2014.
Di Maria proved to be a sound addition at first, scoring a memorable goal against Leicester City and registering 10 assists and three goals in 22 appearances.
But the playmaker struggled to adapt to life in Manchester and had trouble settling in with his team-mates after failing to improve his English.
His future became uncertain after his house was burgled while he was playing for the club and when Paris Saint-Germain offered £45m to sign the winger, he pushed to leave Old Trafford.
Now Di Maria has lifted the lid on his short spell in England and in doing so chose to aim several jibes at his former employers, claiming that the No.7 shirt given to him — worn by club legends such as Eric Cantona and David Beckham — had no special meaning.
“I didn’t give a f*** about the Manchester United No.7,” Di Maria was quoted telling Libero on TyC Sports in a wide-ranging interview.
“At first they talked to me a lot about it… it was just a shirt.”
Di Maria’s disdain for his former coach Louis van Gaal was evident during his nightmare stint in the Premier League and the midfielder singled out the Dutchman for criticism.
“My problem at Manchester was the coach,” he added. “Van Gaal was the worst of my career.
“I would score, assist, and the next day he would show me my misplaced passes.
“He displaced me from one day to the other, he didn’t like players being more than him.”
Unlike Di Maria, Cristiano Ronaldo will be keen to get back the No.7 shirt that once belonged to him having returned to the club this summer after 12 years away.
The pair were team-mates for four years at Real Madrid, meaning that few know the Portuguese superstar better.
And Di Maria made a surprise revelation about Ronaldo’s character after he had asked his friend to attend his birthday party back in 2010.
“I invited Cristiano to my first birthday in Madrid and thought he wouldn’t show up,” he said.
“He came and drank beer with my friends like it was nothing.”
“Ronaldo and a few more fought for me to stay in the club but with that little guy [Real president Fiorentino Perez] running things there, it was a bit difficult.”
While he didn’t get along with Van Gaal, Di Maria reserved some special praise for Jose Mourinho, who brought him to Madrid from Benfica 11 years ago.
When asked about life working under the former Chelsea, Tottenham and Man United boss, Di Maria was full of praise the 58-year-old and also told how he came to blows with Ronaldo at the Santiago Bernabeu.
“Mourinho is insane,” he said. “With me he was always a good guy.
“He fought with anyone though, he didn’t give a f***.
“One time he fought with Ronaldo telling him he didn’t run, that everyone ran for him.”