New Manchester United signing Angel Di Maria has revealed in an open letter to Real Madrid fans that he never wanted to leave Los Blancos, but expressed his excitement at joining ‘one of the biggest clubs in the world’.
Di Maria moved to Madrid in 2010 from Benfica and made a total of 190 appearances for the Spanish side, scoring 36 goals and assisting 72 during his four seasons at the Bernabeu, before helping the team to their 10th European title - 'La Decima' – with a 4-1 extra-time win over rivals Atletico Madrid in the 2014 Champions League final.
However, despite his impressive performances, the £63 million signing of Colombian midfielder James Rodriguez this summer signalled the end of his time with the La Liga outfit, with the Argentina international completing a long-awaited British-record £59.7 million transfer to Old Trafford.
Moving to blame the Madrid board for his departure, Di Maria has confessed that if hurt to have been made out to have been holding the club to ransom over his contract demands, and appeared to take a not-so-subtle dig at club president Florentino Perez over his handling of the affair.
My time at Real Madrid has come to an end,’ he wrote. ‘It is impossible to capture all that I have lived here in just a few lines but this letter is to explain to you my feelings at this time of parting.
‘In the four year that I have had the honour of wearing the shirt I have felt nothing but pride for everything that has occurred and that I have achieved together with my team mates. Sadly the time has come for me to leave, but I would like to make it clear that it was never my wish.
‘Like every person that works, I have always wanted to progress. After winning the tenth Champions League I went to the World Cup with the hopes of receiving a gesture from the board, something that never arrived.
‘Much has been said and many lies have been told. There has been a desire all along to attribute to me a desire to leave the club, something that has never been the case. Unfortunately it would seem I am not the type of footballer that appeals to one person in particular.
The only things I ever asked for is what I considered to be just and fair. There are many things that I value and many of them have nothing to do with my salary.
‘I hope to find them at Manchester United, one of the biggest clubs in the world and one with which I hope I can make history.’
Penning a five-year contract worth £200,000-per-week, Di Maria arrives in Manchester to lofty expectations and, with United struggling again at the start of the season, the pressure will be on him to produce from the get-go.
Nevertheless, having lead Europe’s assists chart outright with 17 during the 2013-14 campaign, the winger’s creative qualities are clear for all to see and one would anticipate him taking little time to settle into life in the Premier League.