British football’s record signing Angel di Maria says he tore up a letter sent on the morning of the World Cup final by his then club Real Madrid telling him not to play for Argentina against Germany.
The 26-year-old — whose £59.7 million ($98 million, 75 million euros) transfer to English Premier League giants Manchester United last month set a new British transfer record — did not play in the 1-0 defeat by Germany on July 13 in any case as he failed to recover from a groin injury he suffered in the quarter-final win over Belgium.
“A letter from Madrid arrived at 11 in the morning on the day of the final saying that I should not play,” Di Maria told Argentine radio station America.
“I tore it up, I didn’t give it a second thought.
“I spoke to Alejandro Sabella (the then Argentinian coach) and he didn’t want me to suffer from the fallout, but I said to him I would do everything in my power to be fit.”
Di Maria, who produced a stunning display for Argentina in a friendly with Germany in midweek scoring one and creating their other three goals in a 4-2 victory, said the letter had really upset him.
“I suffered a lot on the morning of the final,” Di Maria said.
“It was the worst possible thing which could happen in my life, however these are the sort of things sent to test you.”
Di Maria, who scored the only goal in the last 16 victory over Switzerland as penalties loomed, said that nothing was more important to him than playing for his country.
“What I like the best is to join up with the national squad, no matter the importance of the match, I want to be part of it,” said Di Maria, whose nickname is ‘the noodle’ owing to his wiry frame.
Di Maria, who produced an outstanding display in Real Madrid’s come from behind Champions League final over city rivals Atletico Madrid last season, said that Real Madrid’s claim he left because of money was absolute rubbish.
“They (Real) can say what they want about me, but the millions they got for me were very welcome for the Real finances,” said Di Maria.
“I never said that I wanted to leave, I didn’t want to. The players and the fans supported me but the club’s only desire was to sell me.” – Agence France-Presse