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Angel di Maria's current form: will he haunt Real?

Angel Di Maria's current form: will he haunt Real Madrid?

Lo sentimos, esta página solo está disponible en idioma English.

Febrero 12, 2018 Por Emmanuel K. Budu-Annor
The ex-Blanco is coming back to town with PSG and, considering his current form, a lot of questions could be asked in Wednesday’s crunch encounter.

Real Madrid will be aiming to hit some level of consistency by securing a win over French heavyweights Paris Saint-Germain at the Bernabeu. Zinedine Zidane’s side has had an appalling campaign in their La Liga defense and has relatively endured a topsy-turvy spell in the UEFA Champions League this season. Who would have thought that a side that won the European trophy for the second time in succession in less than 10 months ago could go off the rails in no time?

Having finished second behind Tottenham Hotspur in the group-stages, a tough draw in the knockout stage of the UCL was certainly inevitable. Fast forwarding to this moment, Los Blancos’ chances of saving their season only lies in the ultimatum of progressing to the next stage of the tournament at the expense of Paris Saint-Germain. Although Madrid got the better of the French heavyweights the last time both sides met in the 2015/16 season’s group stage, the same cannot be easily said for the upcoming clash, thanks to the Parisians' recent acquisitions of attackers Mbappe and Neymar Jr.

Nevertheless, while Zinedine may be coining up a contingency plan for these two, there is the possibility that a third-party who has had a rapid rise in form in recent times could do the damage at the Bernabeu. His name is Angel Di Maria and he was once a fan’s favorite at the sacred arena. Despite the arrival of Mbappe and Neymar demoting him to the bench, the 29-year-old Argentine seems to be gaining the trust of manager Unai Emery with his recent performances.

The renaissance Angel Di Maria has scored seven goals since the turn of the year. He stole the spotlight with his hat-trick in PSG’s Coupe de France quarter-final game against Sochaux and further put in an immense shift in his side’s weekend win over Toulouse despite failing to get on the scoresheet after his mid-week feat. It is, as a result, not surprising that his fellow striking partner Kylian Mbappe suggested he gets the nod in the starting 11 to feature at the Bernabeu, come February 14. 

"We all know very well how important Di Maria is to us," Mbappe declared, according to Goal.

"When he is like that, it's good for the whole team and it allows us to win a few games in a row.

"Yes, he deserves to start against Real Madrid, but I'm not the coach. But he does some beautiful things. It's great for everyone."

In much candor, Di Maria’s inclusion in the starting lineup could indeed yield many dividends for Unai Emery’s side. Mbappe could be a nuisance if featured against Real Madrid but in games of such magnitude, Di Maria’s experience in the European competition could be invaluable to the final outcome. Once upon a time, the 29-year-old winger scored two stunning goals as Paris Saint-Germain thrashed Barcelona 4-0 at the Parc des Princes in another last 16 tie, although the Catalans did the unprecedented to overturn the deficit at the Camp Nou.

That withstanding, it will be a spectacle should Unai Emery resort to Di Maria’s resourcefulness of being a former Blanco and deploy him on his favorite right wing. His form in the UCL this season may be worrying considering he has scored just once in four outings. However, with the current form he is in, a masterclass performance could be on the cards should the birthday boy be lined up at the Santiago Bernabeu.

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