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Angel Di María 9 - After a few weeks of controversy and prominence in the Madrid press, Angel Di María finally made his most significant statement where it matters most: on the pitch.
After the match, the Argentine told the media he hoped he “had shut a few mouths”. He was referring to the controversies surrounding his poor performances since coming back from injury and his public complaints against referees (via ESPN).
And he did indeed.
Di María put in a stellar performance for Los Blancos, matching Ronaldo in scoring two goals and providing another. The latter came after a cut back for Higuain allowed his fellow Argentine to score the all-important opener. His first goal was a tap-in at the first post after some great play from Ronaldo. His second, Madrid’s fifth, was a confident finish after an assist from Özil left him one on one with the keeper.
However, Di María’s performance wasn't limited to his goals and assist. Perhaps the most visible sign of quality he provided was the first-time cross for Özil that culminated in Ronaldo’s second goal.
The most important aspect of his performance however, was his commitment and the renewed intensity he showed throughout the game That intensity that had been largely absent this season.
With 80 minutes on the clock and his team winning by a five-goal margin, he still tirelessly ran after the ball and closed down the Valencia players and keeper.
His renewed motivation may be thanks to José Mourinho’s strong words against him after his recent performances, or his anger at the press’ recent criticisms. What’s sure is that all Madrid fans will hope to see this Di María show up in the crucial games that remain this season.