Angel di Maria may be destined for Paris St Germain next season but the Argentine midfielder checked in for training at Real Madrid’s Valdebebas base on Tuesday as Carlo Ancelotti got his new-look squad together for the first time.
The 26-year-old has been linked with a move to the French capital all summer and reports suggest a huge £70 million deal has already been agreed between the two clubs with the Parisians first having to sell some of their stars to comply with UEFA Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.
Di Maria, who has also been linked with Manchester United, has wanted out of the Bernabeu club for a year and Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti issued a warning to his want-away star last week in response to rumours he may not return after his post-World Cup break. “I have not heard about it,” said the Italian. “Di Maria know as well as the others. He finished the World Cup and on August 5 must be in Valdebebas.”
The former Benfica man, who impressed for Argentine during the World Cup but missed the latter stages through injury, complied with his manager’s request but this week could be his last as a Madrid player as the French champions close on their big-money transfer. Laurent Blanc’s side spent £50 million on Chelsea defender David Luiz, however, and need to sell so not to break FFP rules. Edinson Cavani is the man most likely to leave to allow Di Maria’s move to go through.
Di Maria warmed up alongside Fabio Coentrao and Xabi Alonso before joining with the rest of the squad as they prepared for next Tuesday’s UEFA Super Cup clash against fellow La Liga club Sevilla in Cardiff but he is unlikely to play a part.
World Cup stars and Madrid new boys James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos have pushed the Argentine star further down the pecking order and both players joined their new teammates in training for the first time.
Kroos helped Germany to World Cup glory in Brazil while Rodriguez picked up the Golden Boot award thanks to his impressive exploits for Columbia. The pair cost over £80 million and the sale of Di María will offset some of that expenditure.
The deal would be good business for Los Merengues but the midfielder will be a big miss given the performances he produced in the second half of last season. After seemingly being left out in the wilderness following the arrival of Gareth Bale, the Argentine worked hard to regain a place deeper in Madrid’s three-man midfield and was arguably the club’s best player after Christmas. He shone in the Champions League final triumph over Atletico Madrid, taking the man-of-the-match plaudits and setting up Bale’s crucial extra-time goal, and also impressed as Madrid lifted the Copa del Rey with victory over Barcelona.
But, despite PSG star Zlatan Ibrahimovic insisting his team do not need the Madrid man, Di Maria looks destined for Paris after his agent Jorge Mendes and Madrid president Florentino Perez thrashed out the details of his departure this week. A one-year loan move with a permanent transfer taking place next summer has been reported.
Sami Khedira also returned to action after the World Cup and despite rumours linking him with a move to Arsenal. Bayern Munich have also been linked with the former Stuttgart man but Madrid are understood to be eager to push through a move to the Gunners this summer and not let Khedira move to the German champions for free next year.
Goalkeeper Keylor Navas joined Diego Lopez and Iker Casillas on the training pitch just hours after being presented as Madrid’s latest addition in front of over 5,000 fans at the Bernabeu. Los Blancos paid
€10 million to Levante for Costa Rica’s World Cup star but he faces stiff competition for a starting role. Lopez is the man most likely to make way, with Monaco and AC Milan chasing last season’s regular No.1.
Cristiano Ronaldo trained freely after having limited time on the pitch during Madrid’s pre-season training trip to the United States and Ancelotti has no other injury concerns ahead of his side’s first competitive match at Cardiff City’s stadium next week.
The Italian may even have another star in his ranks if Los Blancos go through with plans to bring Columbian star Radamel Falcao to the Bernabeu. Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim said the striker is not for sale after he got his first start, and goal, since January in Monaco’s 1-0 Emirates Cup win over Arsenal in London on Sunday. Ancelotti has also said he does not need another striker but the rumours of a move for the 28-year-old, who missed the World Cup with a knee injury persist.