Happy 24th Birthday, Ángel Di María!

Di Maria celebrating one of his goals (photo via Realmadrid.com)

Winger Ángel Di María turned 24 today. The Argentinian player was the most expensive signing of last season, and even though he disappointed in his first few months with the club, he has showed what he is capable of as the season advances.

Di María is very fast off the dribble. He is known to be one of the best one-on-one attackers in the world, and he is now one of the best passers in la Liga with 13 assists and four goals in just 14 games.

The Argentinian player was one of Argentina's starters in the South Africa World Cup, but Diego Armando Maradona played him in the midfield rather than closer to the box, where he is at his best. It is true that Di María can defend well, but his main power lies in his attacking skills.

When he joined Real Madrid, Di María, who is left-footed, had to get used to playing in the right wing. He had played in the left wing on Benfica and with Argentina's National Team. At first, he was unable to control, shoot and dribble the ball with his right leg and had to adapt to his new position. Cristiano Ronaldo was performing well in the left wing, so the Argentinian player taking his place was not seen as an option.

By November, however, Di María started to deliver. Real Madrid's quick counter-attacks benefitted his style, and Di Mará started to dribble to the center of the field and give many assists instead of crossing the ball, as he did in the left wing. One of the best examples of this is Di María's goal against Tottenham Hotspurs in the Champions League Quarterfinals:

Di María's goal against Tottenham (via rtve)

In that season Di María scored nine goals and didn't give a lot of assists, an area where he improved a great deal throughout Mourinho's second season. Di María is now able to release the ball very quickly to Cristiano Ronaldo and the other strikers. Ronaldo has been one of his favorite targets for assists.

The Argentinian player is now coming back from his groin injury, and given that Özil now looks better than ever, a combo quartet with Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, Özil and Di María would be a scary force for Madrid's rivals to contend with.

From all of us at Managing Madrid, happy birthday, Fideo! Send your birthday wishes by commenting on Managing Madrid's facebook and tweeting us @managingmadrid.

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