Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand didn’t mince his words when quizzed on Angel Di Maria’s imminent departure from Old Trafford, claiming the Argentina international has been a “failure” in the Premier League.
As noted by Simon Stone of BBC, Di Maria is poised to complete a deal to French champions Paris Saint-Germain after struggling in his debut season for the Red Devils. Ferdinand, speaking with Kevin Palmer of ESPN FC, claimed that his decision to leave the club is one he’ll come to regret in time:
He will now always have on his CV that he was a failure at Man United. As a professional, I wouldn't want something like that on my record. If I could rectify it by staying and trying to prove myself, I would have done that.
As a fan, I would have liked for him to stay there and prove he can perform for Man United. That is what we all wanted to see when the club paid so much for him last summer, but that isn't happening, it seems.
I can understand why some fans are disappointed that he is leaving so soon, but this is a business. United may have looked at it this summer and Van Gaal has probably come to the conclusion that he doesn't fit into his system for whatever reason. At that point, you have to cash in.
Ferdinand was one of a select few defenders who was subject to Di Maria at full flow in English football. The Argentina star made his Old Trafford debut against Rio’s Queens Park Rangers team, tearing into the Londoners time and time again with his patented destructive dribbling; the result was an emphatic 4-0 win for the Red Devils.
But performances like that were scarce in United colours. Paul Hayward of the Daily Telegraph summed up Di Maria’s career at Old Trafford:
But there were some mitigating circumstances. Louis van Gaal didn’t afford Di Maria the consistency of a regular position in the team, moving the Argentina international from centre-midfield, out to the wings and even up front on occasion. As Hayward mentions, off the pitch the Argentine didn’t enjoy the best of times in Manchester either.
Some of the scathing criticism that has come the way of Di Maria, like this from the Manchester Evening News, is probably a little harsh, per Bleacher Report UK:
When a player costs a British record sum it can be easy to think of them purely as a footballer, but there are human aspects to consider, too, regardless of how lucrative a package they are privy too.
So if Di Maria’s family was unsettled after the attempted burglary on their home, as was reported by RMC (h/t Charli Casey of Metro), then it’s no surprise the midfielder has looked to move elsewhere.
Granted, Di Maria may look back on his jaunt to Manchester with a tinge of sadness, as Ferdinand mentions. But having won various honours with Real Madrid, the midfielder has very little to prove at the top level and should he inspire his new employers to great things in the Champions League, regrets will probably be scarce for the 27-year-old.