Manchester United are not the sole club to have been strongly linked with Argentinean left winger Angel Di Maria in recent times. Both Chelsea and Manchester City, as well as a host of clubs from Spain and Italy are all thought to be very keen on the left footed winger, whom Diego Maradona recently cited as being the “next big thing from Argentina”.
What is it that makes Di Maria so special and worthy of talk of him being worth £15m, £20m or even £30m? The winger began his career in Argentina in 2005 with Rosario Central and quickly caught the eye with his effortless ability on the ball, his superb first touch and his unerring ability to strike the ball cleanly with seemingly little effort. He quickly caught the eye of Russian side Rubin Kazan, but turned down their approach in January 2007. Later that year Di Maria would star for Argentina in their U20 World Cup squad, scoring this fantastic goal against Chile during the competition.
His performances at the tournament were little short of sensational and Benfica fought off several interested parties to land the winger from Rosario Central. He began his life in Portugal well with Benfica and in 2008 was called into the Argentinean Olympic Football team. Di Maria capped another fine tournament by netting the decisive goal in Argentina’s 1-0 victory over Nigeria in the final, a sublime chip over the advancing Nigerian keeper, a goal which earned Argentina the gold medal.
With his stock already increased by outstanding performances in two global competitions and still short of his 20th birthday, Di Maria was already a hot prospect in Europe and his form for Benfica since has further enhanced his reputation. Predominantly with goals like these;
He has also gone on to make the full Argentinean national team and looks likely to be a strong performer for them in this summers World Cup Finals.
It is hard to categorise what kind of winger Di Maria is. At times he has the languid fluidity and the ease of possession of Luis Figo, albeit with his left foot and yet at other times he seems to show the explosive pace of someone like Cristiano Ronaldo. He certainly possesses great speed, particularly over the first few yards. His close control, as shown by the evidence in the videos embedded in the article, is sublime but perhaps his finest skill is his ability to strike the ball cleanly and sweetly with his left foot at will. Perhaps not since Roberto Carlos, and before him Eder, have we seen a left footed player with this ability to strike a bouncing or rolling ball with such unerring accuracy.
Certainly Everton fans will need no convincing as to his talents. Di Maria destroyed the Goodison Park outfit in Lisbon earlier this season, playing a pivotal role in Benfica’s 5-0 win and then two weeks later, tormenting a young Everton side at Goodison Park and leading Benfica to a 2-0 victory there too.
So it is easy to see why so many top clubs are keen on Di Maria. Whether he will remain with Benfica for the time being, or be snapped up by one of the big clubs remains to be seen. However if Di Maria continues to play as he has been and performs as he can during the World Cup, it seems certain that the asking price for the player will certainly increase a great deal.
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