Angel Di Maria was sold to Manchester United because he was 'too ugly', says former Barcelona player and coach

Real Madrid sanctioned the Argentina international's sale to Old Trafford last summer

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Manchester United pulled off a coup in signing Angel Di Maria, who despite struggling for form since switching to Old Trafford, continues to be considered among the best players on the planet.

But according to a former Barcelona player and coach, it wasn't just the £59.7m transfer fee that swayed Real Madrid to sell a player who had been key in helping Los Blancos win their 10th European crown - Di Maria's looks played a part too.

According to Carles Rexach, who played for Barcelona for 22 years and went on to coach the side in 2001, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is keen to sell an 'international brand' and that includes grouping together players that are easy on the eye.

"Florentino Perez looks at the world market and wants a team of Galacticos for everyone to admire. Do you understand what I mean?" Rexach is quoted as saying.

"Ronaldo is the flagship of the club. Perez is selling an international brand. Vicente del Bosque and Di Maria are too ugly for Real Madrid. They are different from Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez."

James Rodriguez was signed by Real Madrid over the summer

Rexach, who is tipped for a director role in the current management shake-up taking place at the Nou Camp, isn't shy of making controversial statements. In an interview last year, from which quotes surfaced last week, he claimed that Lionel Messi "ate more pizzas than he should have done" last season.