Angel Di Maria to Manchester United: Real Madrid winger 'close to a transfer' and has 'said his goodbyes', reveals Carlo Ancelotti
The Argentina international is expected to join Manchester United for a fee that could break the British transfer record
Sunday 24 August 2014
Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed that winger Angel Di Maria is on the verge of a move away from the European champions.
The Argentina international is reported to be closing on a big-money move to Manchester United and did not attend training with his Madrid team-mates at their Valdebebas training base on Sunday morning ahead of their league opener against Cordoba on Monday night.
The 26-year-old turned down a new contract with Los Blancos this summer and asked to leave the club despite Ancelotti revealing Madrid wanted to keep the former Benfica man.
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Now a move to Old Trafford looks just a matter of days away with a British transfer record fee of over £60 million being reported and a five-year deal on the table for a player who is keen for a guaranteed starting role and a feeling of appreciation after growing unhappy at the Santiago Bernabeu in the last year.
"Di Maria has not trained with us," the Italian confirmed. "It's not official yet but he is close to a transfer. He has said his goodbyes and we thanked him for what he has done for us." He added: "Real Madrid has done everything possible to keep Di Maria. He has decided on something else so good luck to him."
The summer transfer window closes next week and United are desperate to add quality to a squad that kicked-off the new Premier League season with a home defeat against Swansea City last week, although reports suggest Manchester City may be keen to hijack the deal.
Di Maria will provide just that with a man-of-the-match performance in the Champions League final in May, which Real won 4-1 after extra-time against neighbours Atletico Madrid, adding to a domestic season in which he topped the assists chart in La Liga with 17.
Despite the Argentine's top performances last season he has been unsettled ever since Gareth Bale's record-breaking transfer from Tottenham Hotspur 12 months ago. Young Spanish midfielder Isco also arrived last summer to offer more competition in the Madrid midfield and reports in Spain suggest the player felt undervalued.
Eugenio Lopez, Di Maria's agent in Argentina, hinted that Madrid president Florentino Perez wanted to force the player out of the club last season when United, Arsenal and Monaco were linked with a move in January. “[Di Maria] has a contract which runs until 2018,” said Lopez. “Many clubs want him. There is a presidential issue there. But I do not want to talk about it."
He also showcased his frustration in Madrid's 0-0 stalemate against lowly Olimpic de Xativa by refusing to shake his manager's hand when he was substituted in the Copa del Rey clash. He also caused controversy in a match against Celta Vigo in January when he held his crotch as Ancelotti substituted him in the Liga clash.
But unlike Mesut Ozil, who opted for a move to Arsenal, Di Maria stayed at the club to battle for his place and became a key cog as Madrid won the Copa del Rey and a much sought-after tenth European Cup. It seems those performances were to attract the attention of potential suitors rather than secure his long-term future in the Spanish capital.
Ancelotti did not include Di Maria in his squad to face Atletico Madrid in Friday's Spanish Super Cup second leg, insisting after the match that he did not need the player despite falling to a 1-0 defeat at the Vicente Calderon. His final minutes in a Madrid shirt look to have come in last Tuesday's first-leg when Madrid fans gave him a huge welcome from the bench as he played the final 15 minutes.
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