Real Madrid's decision to sell Mesut Özil, for a whopping 50M€, was quite justly met with intense backlash from Madridistas. What truly baffled the fans, however, was the club's decision to keep Angel Di María instead of the German Wizard. While Di María has been no slouch since moving to Madrid, his diving antics and consistent inconsistency have prohibited him from reaching his true potential. Angel looked for another season mired with these issues, as he assumed his role on the right wing. However, with Gareth Bale needing a place in the XI, Di María looked set to lose out.
Cue the timely injury to Sami Khedira, and Real's struggle to find equilibrio and a new Angel di Maria was born. Playing on the left side of midfield in Carlo Ancelloti's 4-3-3, Angel has blossomed. Not only is he having his best statistical season offensively, with 8 goals and 17 assists (via whoscored.com), but he has also been vital to Real Madrid's defensive efforts. With an average of 1.5 tackles a game, di Maria has been the engine of Real Madrid-while also developing into a true midfielder.
If Real have any hope of winning the elusive Décima this season, it is Di María who will be the key. His defensive intensity will be crucial in stalling Bayern Munich, while his vision and pace will almost certainly play a factor in any successful Real Madrid attacks. Hopefully, el fideo will be up to the challenge. While Mesut Özil has struggled mildly in North London, Angel has finally blossomed in Madrid. So gracias Florentino, here's to many more years with the jubilant Argentine draped in white.