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A Look At FIFA World Cup Winner Angel Di Maria’s Stats, Awards And Profession Highlights Forward Of His Retirement

A Look At FIFA World Cup Winner Angel Di Maria’s Stats, Awards And Profession Highlights Forward Of His Retirement

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Football is a funny sport — while some players cannot be pulled away from the limelight long after they bid farewell to the game, others never get enough credit for their achievements. In every chapter of the sport’s rich history, there have always been a few such unsung heroes, who quietly pave the way for their team’s glory. One such footballer is Angel Di Maria, whose impressive stats stand testament to a glorious career, which culminates in 2024.

The Argentine forward has been involved in the professional football landscape for nearly two decades. However, he got his big break in 2007 when Di Maria signed for Portuguese club Benfica. His move to Europe also opened the gates for his entry into international football and in 2008, Di Maria was called up to Argentina’s senior football team. Since then, he has earned over 130 caps for the national team and has featured in nine major tournaments to date.

On Thursday, 23 November 2023, Di Maria took to social media to announce his retirement from international football after the Copa America 2024. In a heartfelt post, the Argentine wrote, “With all the pain in my soul and feeling a lump in my throat, I say goodbye to the most beautiful thing that happened to me in my career.” 

As the entire footballing fraternity comes together to congratulate the Football World Cup-winning player for a successful career, we deep dive into Angel Di Maria’s wonderful stats, awards and the teams he played for.

Angel Di Maria’s career highlights: Stats, goals, teams, awards and more

His early days as a footballer

Born on 14 February 1988 in Rosario, Santa Fe, Angel Di Maria was an unusually active infant, and it was on the recommendation of a doctor that he was signed up for football at the tender age of three. At age four, he joined Rosario Central and trained in their academy to become a professional footballer.

In December 2005, Di Maria made his debut for Rosario Central in a match against Independiente (which ended in a 2-2 draw). The Argentine forward took nearly a year to score his first goal for the club, which came against Quilmes on 24 November 2006. In 35 appearances for Rosario Central, he scored six goals.

Di Maria’s performance in the 2007 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Canada drew interest from several clubs around the globe. Boca Juniors made a formal bid of USD 6.5 million to secure his services. He was also heavily linked to a deal with London-based club (and one of the behemoths of European club football) Arsenal FC. However, the Argentine’s move to England fell through because of the United Kingdom’s strict rules on issuing work permits to players from outside the European Union.

Di Maria’s move to Europe

Angel Di Maria stats
Picture Credits: Courtesy Ángel Di María/Instagram

In 2007, Benfica signed Di Maria as a replacement for their departing captain and winger Simao Sabrosa (who joined La Liga side Atletico Madrid). Under Portuguese coach Jorge Jesus, the Argentine enjoyed his breakthrough season in 2009-10. In a UEFA Europa League group stage fixture against Premier League side Everton, Di Maria provided a hat-trick of assists as Benfica handed the Merseyside club a 5-0 thrashing. Interestingly, it also marked the heaviest defeat margin of an English side in any European club competition.

Soon after, the Argentine signed a new deal with the Portuguese club, which saw the player remain with the club till 30 June 2015. The contract also came with a release clause of USD 43.6 million. Di Maria continued to excel on the football field, netting goals and providing assists from time to time. He scored his first hat-trick in February 2010 against Leixoes. The footballer finished the season with the highest assists in the Primeira Liga (11 assists), and on the back of his performance throughout the season, Benfica lifted the league title and the Taca de Liga.

The summer transfer window of 2010-11 saw Di Maria move to Spain to join Real Madrid, one of the biggest names in club football. He had an instant impact on the club as he joined forces with Portuguese maestro Cristiano Ronaldo and Frenchman Karim Benzema to form a lethal attacking trio. In his debut season with Real Madrid, the Argentine scored nine goals in 53 matches and won the 2011 Copa Del Rey trophy against FC Barcelona (Di Maria was sent off in the 31st minute of extra time in the final).

While the Galacticos (as is the Real Madrid team often called by fans and experts) won their 32nd La Liga title in 2011-12, Di Maria had a sluggish year, scoring only seven goals in 34 appearances. In the next couple of seasons, the Argentine developed his game to become a playmaker rather than a goal-scoring machine. However, that did not stop him from scoring goals every now and then. In his 194 appearances for the club, Di Maria has found the back of the net 37 times.

The most significant moment of the Argentine’s Real Madrid career came in the 2014 UEFA Champions League final against city rivals Atletico Madrid. It was his shot in the 110th minute of the match that forced a save from goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and set up the perfect opportunity for Welsh forward Gareth Bale to head the rebound and seal the 10th Champions League title for Real Madrid. Di María was named the player of the match in that game and received the honour from former Manchester United head coach Alex Ferguson.

The melancholy of Manchester and the felicity in France

On 26 August 2014,  Angel Di Maria signed a five-year deal with Premier League giants Manchester United for a then-record transfer fee of USD 74. million (it was the highest transfer fee paid by a British club back then). In addition, he was also handed the legendary number seven shirt which has previously been worn by greats like George Best, Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo, among others.

The Argentine showed promises of living up to his expensive price tag as he picked up the club’s Player of the Month award for September 2014. He also won the Goal of the Month award for the same month for netting the ball against Leicester City with a chip shot. However, he picked up an injury in November 2014, and while he recovered within two months, Di Maria was never the same player for the Red Devils again. By the end of the season, several experts deemed him to be the ‘worst signing’ of 2014-15.

With the tide of luck not in his favour in England, Di Maria left Manchester United in the 2015-16 summer transfer window and moved to France to join Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) on a four-year contract. What followed thereafter was a miraculous turn of events — the Argentine set a new Ligue 1 record for the most assists for goals in a single season in 2015-16 (he had 18 assists to his name). Moreover, he won the Ligue 1, the Coupe de France and the Coupe de la Ligue titles in his debut season.

Angel Di Maria stats
Picture Credits: Courtesy Ángel Di María/Instagram

For the next few seasons, PSG continued enjoying significant success in the domestic sphere, with Di Maria a part of their core team. However, at the same time, they faltered in the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League. The closest they came to lifting the coveted silverware was in 2020 when Bayern Munich beat them in the final. But that did not hinder Di Maria’s growth curve en route to becoming one of the best players in the world. When he left PSG at the end of the 2021-22 season, the Argentine had 92 goals and 112 assists (the most assists by a PSG player to date) in 295 matches.

After spending a solitary season with Juventus (2022-23 season), Di Mariia decided to leave the Turin-based club to make a dramatic return to Benfica in the 2023-24 summer transfer window. In the 14 games that he has played for the Portuguese club this season (so far), the Argentine has scored seven goals.

Di Maria’s time with the Argentina national team

Angel Di Maria stats
Picture Credits: Courtesy Ángel Di María/Instagram

Angel Di Mariia was a part of the Argentina football team, which won the 2007 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Canada, and he scored three goals in the tournament. He was also a part of the Argentine team that competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In the final of the multi-sporting event, Di Maria scored the all-important goal against Nigeria to help his side clinch the gold medal.

On 6 September 2008, Di Maria made his debut for the Argentina senior football team in a match against Paraguay. He was subsequently selected for the FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa where he featured in all the matches that Argentina played in the competition. The Argentine returned to the grandest stage of world football four years down the road, this time in Brazil. However, he suffered an injury in the quarter-final match against Belgium, owing to which he missed the remainder of the tournament. As fate would have it, Argentina lost by a solitary goal to Germany in the final.

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Di Mariia’s ill luck with injuries spelt doom for Argentina in the next couple of years. While he was in good form in both tournaments, the Argentine picked up injuries in the middle of the Copa America 2015 and the Copa America Centenario 2016 and was pushed to the sidelines on both occasions. In both tournaments, Argentina reached the finals but lost the title to Chile.

In the Copa America 2021 final against the hosts and defending champions Brazil, Di Mariia scored the only goal of the contest to gift Argentina its first international silverware since 1993. The win also tied Argentina with Uruguay in the first place for the most Copa America titles (both teams have 15 titles each). A year later, he scored one of the three goals in Argentina’s 3-0 thrashing of reigning European champions Italy in the Finalissima 2022 (Finalissima is a quadrennial football match played between the defending champions of the Copa America and the UEFA Euro).

Angel Di Maria stats
Picture Credits: Courtesy Ángel Di María/Instagram

The Argentina team, led by Lionel Messi, headed to the final of the FIFA World Cup 2022 intending to overturn the result of a similar final from eight years back. In a riveting contest against the then-defending world champions France, Di Mariia scored Argentina’s second goal as the match ended in a 3-3 draw after extra time. Argentina eventually defeated France by a margin of 4-2 in the penalties, thereby winning its first World Cup crown in 32 years.

Summing up Ángel Di Maria’s incredible career stats

Angel Di Maria stats
Picture Credits: Courtesy Ángel Di María/Instagram

Not many players get to live a career like the one Ángel Di Maria enjoyed over the years. The Argentine has won several coveted titles in both club and international football, including the FIFA World Cup (2022), Copa America (2021), Finalissima (2022), an Olympic gold medal (2008), UEFA Champions League (2014), UEFA Super Cup (2014), La Liga (2011-12) and Ligue 1 (2015-16, 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20, 2021-22), among several others.

In club football, Di Maria has scored 169 goals in 739 appearances throughout his career. On the other hand, he has made 136 appearances in international football to date, during which time he has scored 29 goals. Traditionally, the athlete has always worn the number 11 jersey in all the teams he has participated in.

(Main and Featured Images Credits: Courtesy Ángel Di María/Instagram)

The story first appeared on Augustman Singapore

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

– What is Angel Di Maria’s jersey number? 
AAngel Di Maria has mostly worn the number 11 jersey in all the teams he has participated in.

– When will Angel Di Maria retire? 
Angel Di Maria announced in 2023 that he has decided to retire from international football after the Copa America 2024.

Source: Prestige Online

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