Manchester United summer signing Angel Di Maria claims his understanding on the pitch with club captain Wayne Rooney reminds him of playing with Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.
Di Maria, 26, sealed a British record £59.7 million move from Real Madrid to United in August after four successful seasons in the Spanish capital, having proven an integral part of the line-up which earned the team their 10th European title with a 4-1 extra-time win over rivals Atletico Madrid in last season’s Champions League final.
The Argentine midfielder has since recorded three goals and six assists in 10 Premier League games, although he now hasn’t found the back of the net in almost two months following a hot start.
“I’m not worried about that,” he told the Daily Mail. “I think things have gone well since I got here. I’m doing all right with goals and assists. There were one or two games when I wasn’t playing at the same level as I had at the start, but . . . well, I guess that’s pretty normal when I’m getting used to things, isn’t it?
“The truth is that I’m pleased to be here in Manchester. Being here is something really important for me, so from that side of things I’m really pleased. The rest will come.”
Part of what's made life so enjoyable at United so far is his flourishing relationship with Rooney, who he remembers watching and admiring as a teenager back in Argentina during the England striker’s first few seasons at Old Trafford.
“Playing with him is a pleasure and a point of pride,” he said. “When I was 15, more or less, I used to watch him playing with United. I admired him and wanted to be like that. Whether it’s him, Giggs, or any of the others, playing with them is something really special.
“Rooney is at the top level,” he continued. “The other day I was talking to my friend and I said, ‘Rooney and me understand each other, just like Messi and me in the Argentina squad, or Cristiano at Real Madrid’.
“I get on really well with Rooney, we get together on the pitch to kick the ball about, to do things. He’s a spectacular player and he’s one of the top players in the game.”