Angel Di Maria has often been a bit of a frustrating figure for Real Madrid fans to watch.
At the start of this season many Real Madrid fans, including myself, openly wondered if Angel Di Maria warranted a starting spot in Madrid's star-studded lineup.
Could someone like Marcelo or Fabio Coentrao perform better than the Argentine on the wings? Should Real Madrid go out and bring in a recognized winger, like Eden Hazard, to play in place of Di Maria? Or should Ozil be pushed to the wings and Kaka be allowed to start in the middle, or vice-versa?
All of the above were serious questions being raised at the start of the season. Two inept performances against FC Barcelona in the Super Cup did nothing to alleviate concerns over Di Maria's quality and raised even bigger doubts in the minds of Real Madrid supporters.
Despite a winning goal against Dinamo Zagreb and two assists in a 6-0 win over Real Zaragoza, Angel Di Maria continued to perform below overall fan expectation. He worked hard, but the magic and trickery was lacking.
For the most part, Cristiano Ronaldo, Gonzalo Higuain and Co. had done an excellent job to overshadow Di Maria's struggles with big wins over their opponents, but the threat of backlash at Di Maria always existed should Real Madrid stop picking up results.
Then came the season-changing moment for Angel Di Maria: he was sent off in Real Madrid's 6-2 win over Rayo Vallecano.
It's hard to say what clicked for Di Maria after that game or what changed, but it's certain that something did indeed happen.
How Important is Angel Di Maria for Real Madrid's Success This Year?
Angel Di Maria returned with a vengeance following his suspension. Against Real Betis, he recorded two assists—as a 60th minute substitute. Entering the game with Madrid 2-0 up, he would put the game out of reached following Betis' goal in the 69th minute by assisting two quick-response goals by Higuain in the 70th and 73rd minutes.
His performance against Malaga CF was even more impressive. Though Cristiano Ronaldo would capture the headline for his hat trick, Angel Di Maria put in a fantastic performance, passing to Higuain for the game's opening goal and starting the rout with a cross to Ronaldo in the 24th minute.
Finally, Angel Di Maria's performance today against Villarreal was his most impressive performance of the season. The 23-year-old Argentine was involved in all three goals, assisting the first two goals before scoring the final one and was easily the game's man of the match.
It was Di Maria's sublime pass that allowed Karim Benzema to open the scoring after on three minutes and once again it was Di Maria who's pass ended up at Kaka's feet for the Brazilian to score the second goal, though he would have to do a bit of work to score it.
Finally, Di Maria scored the third and final goal of the game off an excellent counter-attack by Real Madrid after a corner at their goal. Karim Benzema played Di Maria through on goal and the Argentine calmly slotted the ball into the net.
With six assists and a goal in three games now, it's hard to say if Angel Di Maria has ever looked better in the white of Real Madrid. One things for certain though, his good play has been a major factor in Real Madrid scoring 11 goals and conceding one in their last three games.
It's hard to say that Real Madrid would struggle with an off-form Di Maria, but with Di Maria in the form he currently is in, Real Madrid can arguably take on any team in the world, including FC Barcelona.
With Angel Di Maria on form, Real Madrid have looked unstoppable and as long as Di Maria maintains his current level of excellence, or stays near it, I can't see Madrid cooling off anytime soon.