Angel Di Maria recently named his best XI of team-mates from his illustrious career and it’s fair to say the Argentine winger caused some controversy with the players he omitted.
In the end, Di Maria selected the following XI: Emiliano Martinez, Sergio Ramos, Javier Mascherano, Nicolas Otamendi, Marcelo, Rui Costa, himself, Neymar, Lionel Messi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Kylian Mbappe.
We’ve taken a closer look at Di Maria’s career and have compiled an outrageously good XI of the team-mates which he snubbed.
GK: Iker Casillas
We can hardly begrudge Di Maria for selecting Martinez in his actual XI, after all the Argentine goalkeeper played a huge role in Di Maria collecting his World Cup and Copa America medals.
However, there’s no denying that leaving Casillas out was a bold choice.
Arguably, the greatest goalkeeper of his generation, Di Maria was fortunate enough to play alongside the Spanish goalkeeper for four years at Real Madrid. In that time, the pair won six trophies together.
RB: Dani Alves
By the time Di Maria got to play with Alves, the Brazilian was probably past the peak of his powers. Still, the duo spent two years alongside each other at PSG and won five trophies together.
Arguably the scariest man in football, Di Maria is a braver man than us for omitting Pepe from his team-mates XI.
In all seriousness, the Portuguese defender was probably in his peak years during the time he spent alongside Di Maria. However, the Argentine playmaker stayed loyal to his international team-mates and selected Mascherano and Otamendi instead.
CB: Thiago Silva
Silva can count himself pretty unfortunate that he didn’t make the cut. The Brazilian is undoubtedly one of the best defenders of his generation and he spent plenty of years as Di Maria’s captain at PSG.
Throughout his illustrious career, Silva has managed to get his hands on 30 trophies and he’s still going strong today aged 39.
LB: Luke Shaw
Di Maria didn’t include a single United player in his XI (which is hardly a surprise), so we thought we might as well chuck one in somewhere. Based on the other players he’s played with, Shaw seemed like the best candidate to include.
The England international joined United during the same summer as Di Maria and the pair spent just one year alongside each other before the Argentine was racing for the exit door.
It’s fair to say that United’s recruitment in the summer of 2014 was a bit of a mixed bag.
CM: Luka Modric
To be fair to Di Maria, he probably never saw the best of Modric during his time in Spain. Football’s equivalent of Benjamin Button, the Croatian’s career is like no other.
Having initially been labelled as the La Liga flop of the season, Modric swiftly turned the doubters into fans. Even at 38 years old, he’s still going strong for Real Madrid today and is a Ballon d’Or winner.
CM: Marco Verratti
Champions League nights these days just aren’t the same without Verratti bossing the midfield for PSG. The Italian midfielder is often overlooked, perhaps because he spent his peak years in France, but what a game-changer he could be.
Verratti spent seven years playing alongside Di Maria at PSG, but that still wasn’t enough to secure him a spot in his team-mates XI.
CM: Mesut Ozil
The creativity that Real Madrid had in their ranks during the early 2010s was absolutely off the charts. In 159 games for the La Liga giants, the German playmaker produced a whopping 81 assists.
Ozil joined Real Madrid during the same summer as Di Maria and the pair spent three years together before the German maestro made the switch to Arsenal.
RW: Gareth Bale
Given that Bale ended up replacing Di Maria at Real Madrid and the fact he opted for Messi in his actual XI, it’s not that much of a surprise that the Welsh winger didn’t make the cut.
With that being said, Bale spent one year playing alongside Di Maria and the pair managed to win the Champions League in 2013-14. It’s a shame they didn’t spend more time together.
ST: Edinson Cavani
We could have opted for Wayne Rooney or Karim Benzema in this position, but given the length of time they spent together, Cavani was probably the closest to making Di Maria’s actual XI.
The Uruguayan forward was absolutely immense in his PSG days. Despite often being played out of position to accommodate Ibrahimovic, he still scored 200 goals in 301 appearances for the French club. That’s some return.
Edinson Cavani at psg was something special pic.twitter.com/TkZ0bcThGC
— Psy (@bills_psg) January 28, 2024
LW: Cristiano Ronaldo
Undoubtedly, the biggest snub of Di Maria’s XI. Instead of including the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, Di Maria instead opted for a forward line of Neymar, Messi, Ibrahimovic and Mbappe.
During the four years that Ronaldo played alongside Di Maria, he scored 219 goals in 211 games. That’s more goals than Di Maria has managed over his entire career.