Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho divided opinion during his stay in Madrid, no more so than amongst his own fans and staff.
In his final season in the Spanish capital, the Portuguese boss had his eyes firmly fixed on a return to the Blues and the Premier League and this was enhanced by his notorious power struggles within the club.
A number of his own players – including Pepe, Sergio Ramos and Spanish number one Iker Casillas – didn’t take to Mourinho’s methods, and his fractious relationship cost Madrid building on a wonderful 2011/12 season.
He did, however, have his fair share of backers too and amongst those defending his corner is Argentine wizard Angel Di Maria.
The 26-year-old star was one of Mourinho’s first signings at the club, arriving from Portuguese league leaders Benfica in a deal worth a reported €25m.
Amid recent criticism over Mourinho’s past relationship with a number of players, Di Maria has insisted that the players were fully focused on winning and thanked his former boss for taking a chance on him.
"To say that we betrayed Mourinho is a lie, we all want to get to finals and win.” He told Spanish press AS.
“Mourinho brought me to Real Madrid and made space for me here. I could never be upset with him.”
Angel Di Maria is used to dealing with criticism at Madrid, and became the victim of a number of whistles and jeers during the January transfer window, resulting in speculation over his future at the club.
Since then, however, he has gone on to become one of Carlo Ancelotti’s most valuable team members by contributing to 16 goals over the season and helping the club win the Copa Del Rey.