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Real Madrid must keep Di maria

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1 Real Madrid must keep Di maria on 20th August 2014, 8:41 pm

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The Argentine winger changed the
face of his side's attack when he came off the
bench against Atleti and is key to their hopes of
success in 2014-15
Aug 20, 2014 09:50:00
By Ben Hayward | Spanish
Football Writer
This was no classic. With 12
minutes left, Real Madrid
and Atletico were going
through the motions and
heading towards a dull draw
in a game which had started late and was leaving
little for the memory bank for fans of either team.
But then, Angel Di Maria came on.
Left out of Madrid's Uefa Super Cup win over Sevilla
last week, the Argentine winger was again on the
bench for this one and there he stayed, even when
Cristiano Ronaldo was withdrawn through injury at
half-time.
Ronaldo was replaced by summer signing James
Rodriguez, left out himself to accommodate a three-
man midfield featuring the returning Xabi Alonso
alongside Luka Modric and Toni Kroos. But the spark
was missing.
The last time these two teams met, in the
Champions League final in Lisbon last May, it was Di
Maria's remarkable run from midfield that set up
Gareth Bale for the decisive goal in extra-time after
Sergio Ramos had headed home a dramatic
equaliser right at the end.
With Ronaldo off, Bale below par and James still
settling into his new surroundings, Madrid missed
the Argentine's boundless energy in midfield on
Tuesday, the threat he offers when running at rival
defenders and his overall enthusiasm.
ADMIRER | Simeone knows Di Maria could hurt his
team in Friday's second leg
When he came on, the spark immediately returned
as a couple of dangerous runs unsettled the Atletico
defence. And three minutes later, Madrid took the
lead. Although not directly involved in James' strike,
Di Maria's introduction had given the home side a
significant psychological lift - and that led to the
goal.
"The game changed with Di Maria," Atleti boss Diego
Simeone said afterwards. "It's logical - he's the best
player they have. He's the player most likely to
create openings in the opposition half."
Mind games, perhaps, from the Argentine coach
ahead of Friday's second leg, but whether he is right
or not, one thing is certain - Madrid don't have
another player like Di Maria.
Aware that the winger may yet leave against his
wishes, Ancelotti chose his words carefully. "Di
Maria is one of many good players," he replied. "But
I think he forgot Cristiano, who won the Ballon d'Or
and Bale, who scored in Lisbon. Di Maria is a Real
Madrid player and I'll use him as I want."
Ancelotti wants Di Maria to stay and the Argentine is
open to extending his spell at the Santiago
Bernabeu - if the club can match his wage demands
with a new contract this summer.
"Di Maria knows what it is to be at Real Madrid and
he knows what it is to be elsewhere. Let him weigh
things up and decide if he wants to leave or not,"
Sergio Ramos said in the mixed zone after the game.
"But this is a club where you want to be for your
whole life, so I don't think he wants to leave."

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