All the talk in Madrid right now is of a potential transfer for Colombian James Rodriguez, which could see Angel Di Maria leave the club. While the Monaco midfielder has been a star at this World Cup, to sign him at the expense of the Argentine would not be a good idea.
Di Maria himself is said to be unsettled at Real Madrid because the club don't value his as much as they should.
"I still don’t know if I’ll stay at Madrid. I’m happy, but we’ll see what happens," he said, per Carmen Colino and Sergio Gomez of AS.
They also suggested that his comments in praise of Argentina team-mate Lionel Messi were designed to help force an exit from the club. It was the Barcelona star who set up Di Maria on Tuesday against Switzerland in the World Cup last 16. Deep into extra-time, Di Maria scored the winning goal which prevented a penalty shootout and sent Argentina in to the quarter-finals.
It came after a bad match for the midfielder, who had plenty of shots at goal but rarely worried the Swiss goalkeeper.
But, after a fantastic season in which they won La Decima, Real Madrid should do what they can to keep Di Maria happy.
He was an integral part of the team, with Carlo Ancelotti incorporating him in a midfield three.
Xabi Alonso and Luka Modric were the base of the midfield, but it was Di Maria who provided the dynamism.
While Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo took the acclaim, Di Maria was a vital cog in the machine.
To lose him would be taking a step back as Madrid try to keep the pace at the top of La Liga.
Di Maria was key for Real Madrid in the Clasico which they eventually lost 4-3 to Barcelona. He tore Dani Alves to pieces when coming in from the left.
And when he was suspended for the game afterward, against Sevilla, Madrid were very poor indeed.
Di Maria's energy was missed and Real lost 2-1, a blow to their hopes of La Liga glory.
Just because the Argentine doesn't have the Galactico image that Madrid love, doesn't mean he should be discarded or cherished any less.
Di Maria is unpredictable, brilliant and tough to handle. Arguably, he is the most inventive player in the Real Madrid side, physically capable of wriggling clear of defenders and confusing them with a body twist.
While Ronaldo and Bale are phenomenal athletes, Di Maria has guile, too.
If Madrid do sign Rodriguez, there will be nothing stopping him from succeeding in the Di Maria role. Like the Argentine, he can also play on the left.
But Di Maria is only 26 and has a long career ahead of him still. To sell him and then pay more for Rodriguez would be unnecessary preening.
Isco would also be unimpressed, given he would like to play as the most attacking midfielder in Ancelotti's central trio.
With Bale frequently injured, Di Maria can be shuffled over to the left and Isco incorporated more centrally.
Rodriguez would immediately usurp him in the pecking order.
But the largest cost of selling Di Maria would simply be not having Di Maria. A player of his talent is not one to be released lightly.
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