Angel Di Maria has admitted that he came close to leaving Paris Saint-Germain last summer to move to Barcelona.
The Argentina international midfielder joined PSG from Manchester United in August 2015 but has found it difficult to pin down a regular starting place since the arrival of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in the summer.
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Nevertheless, he has shown glimpses of his talent when given the chance to shine, picking up one goal and four assists in barely 600 minutes of match time, and he has confessed that he was close to moving to Barca in the summer, despite having played a critical role in leading their great rivals Real Madrid to Champions League success in 2013-14.
“I was close to joining Barcelona – close and far away at the same time,” he told ESPN. “It’s difficult to go to such a club. It wasn’t done, but life sometimes has surprises, you never know.
“The chance of going there wasn’t affected by the fact that I had already worn the white of Real Madrid. I might have been whistled at Camp Nou before, but it was nothing significant.
“Apart from Newell’s Old Boys, because I am a supporter of Rosario Central, I could play anywhere. And wherever I go, I will always give my maximum.”
Di Maria also spoke of the fallout from ‘penaltygate’ at PSG, when Edinson Cavani and Neymar squabbled over a kick against Lyon earlier this season.
“I think it’s normal,” he said. “These are two players who love to score. They are used to taking penalties and free kicks. It’s to be expected that at any given moment, when there’s not been an agreement, that something like that can happen.
“But it’s fine, there’s been a solution and it’s the coach who will decide. And they both respect the coach.”
Indeed, the 29-year-old believes that PSG are among the best sides in Europe at present.
“PSG are going very well,” he affirmed. “We have a good deal of depth and have a team that can fight to the end in the Champions League, but sometimes having the best players doesn’t mean that you will win that competition.”