PSG's Argentinian superstar Angel Di Maria has opened up about the circumstances surrounding his missing out on taking the field in Argentina's World Cup final against Germany in 2014.
Currently in quarantine with his family in Paris, Di Maria was a guest on Argentinian TV show Telefe. Despite his habitual shyness, Di Maria "felt like talking" and opened up about how he and his family are dealing with the COVID-19 crisis - but also about his painful time in Brazil during the 2014 World Cup.
The final he couldn't play
Di Maria had picked up a hamstring injury against a very dangerous Belgium side in the quarter-finals and missed out on his country's win 4-2 win on penalties over the Netherlands, but had his heart set on returning for the final.
"The three who know the truth are Dr. Daniel Martinez, [Argentina coach] Alejandro Sabella and me. I'd been suffering from the injury since the match against Belgium, but I was getting better, 90%. My leg wasn't quite right but I wanted to play, I didn't care if I didn't play football again because I was in the final," recounted the Argentine wizard. "It was one of the things I was told could happen but for me it was the World Cup final, it was my final."
'I tore it up'
Di Maria was on the books at Real Madrid at the time - he had signed a five-year deal from Benfica in the summer of 2010 - and thus had just a year left on his contract when he made the trip to Brazil in the summer of 2014.
"I knew they wanted to sell me. And the morning of the match, the letter arrived. Daniel (Martinez) gave it to me and said that it was from Real Madrid, but I didn't even want to look at it and I tore it up," admitted Di Maria. "I went to talk to Alejandro and told him, crying, that I wasn't 100%. I knew that he loved me and wanted me to play, but he was looking for the best for the team. I was prepared to play through the pain just to be there. Then, at the pre-match meeting, Alejandro finally decided to put Enzo Perez in my place."
Argentina went on to lose the final 1-0 to Germany - Mario Götze conjured the winning strike 113 minutes into an epic battle - but Di Maria has gone on to great things with Paris Saint-Germain and - despite the fact that his current contract expires in June 2021 - has his hopes pinned on winning the UEFA Champions League with the capital club before returning to his native Argentina.