Ángel Di María
Ángel Di María
Ángel Fabián di María Hernández (born 14 February 1988) is an Argentine professional footballer who currently plays as a winger for Spanish La Liga club Real Madrid and the Argentine national team. He is nicknamed El Angelito, Di Magia, El Flaco, El Pibito and Fideo, Spanish for noodle.
Di Maria started his professional football career in 2005 when he made his debut for Rosario Central. In January 2007, he had an opportunity to play in the Russian Premier League when Rubin Kazan offered him a contract. At first, he agreed, but soon afterwards, he changed his mind and turned down the offer. After putting up a remarkable performance in the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup, playing for Argentina, di María caught the eye of several European teams and in the end, SL Benfica signed him.
Di María was transferred to Portuguese side Benfica in July 2007 where he played as a midfielder. Benfica paid Rosario Central €6 million for 80% of his sports rights and 50% of sports right of Andrés Díaz. Later, in August 2008, the Portuguese club paid an extra €2 million for the remaining 20%, but re-sold 10% to GestiFute.
Di María signed a new deal with Benfica in October 2009, adding three more years to his current deal, which was to last until 30 June 2015 with a €40 million minimum fee release. Later that month, he was backed by Diego Maradona to become "Argentina's next superstar."
On 28 June 2010, Real Madrid posted on their website that they had come to terms with Benfica for the transfer of di María. He signed a five-year contract for €25 million, plus €11 million in incentives. His league debut came on 29 August, in a 0–0 draw against RCD Mallorca. On 18 September, di María scored his first league goal for Real Madrid in their 2–1 win over Real Sociedad.
During the start of the 2011–2012 season, di María endured a tough series of matches as he struggled to adapt to the pace of the league following the summer break. As a result, di María's early performance for the season were mixed with moments of genuinely good play interspersed with moments of sheer madness by the Argentine. . From October 2011, di María was being picked by José Mourinho ahead of Kaká and Mesut Özil, a sign of his improving form.
He scored his first goal of the season against Barcelona in the first leg of the 2012 Supercopa de España at Camp Nou after a mistake by Barcelona goalkeeper Víctor Valdés. On 3rd September 2013 he scored two goals vs Copenhagen in Madrid's 4-0 victory over them.
On 23 August, di María scored the game-winner, a chip over the keeper from the edge of the area in the 57th minute of Argentina's 1–0 victory against Nigeria to capture their second straight Olympic Gold Medal in the final game of the Olympic tournament.
Di María was chosen as one of the 23 players for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. On 11 August 2010, he scored the first ever international goal at Dublin's new Aviva Stadium in a friendly against Ireland with Argentina winning 1–0.