PSG expect di Maria to help club become kings of Europe

Angel di Maria should settle down well in Paris with the help of countrymen Ezequiel Lavezzi and Javier Pastore.
Angel di Maria should settle down well in Paris with the help of countrymen Ezequiel Lavezzi and Javier Pastore.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

PARIS • Paris Saint-Germain are confident Angel di Maria can be the man to help them conquer Europe after completing the signing of the Argentina winger on Thursday.

The 27-year-old penned a four-year deal after PSG agreed to pay Manchester United €63 million (S$95 million) to make him the second-most expensive signing in French football history.

The French champions have made their biggest splash in the transfer market since paying €64 million to sign Edinson Cavani from Napoli in July 2013.

Laurent Blanc's side made an unprecedented clean sweep of the domestic honours last season. They have already won the Champions Trophy this season.

PSG's Qatari owners are convinced securing long-time target di Maria can help them become the first French team since Marseille in 1993 to be champions of Europe.

"It is a real honour for the club to finally sign Angel and continue our great European dream. Our great ambition as everyone knows is the Champions League," said club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi.

NO FIREWORKS

Things didn't work as we all expected and... I feel really sorry about it. I can guarantee you it was not for trying.

ANGEL DI MARIA in his apology to Manchester United fans

"We are close to our dream. We will try this year. Angel will really give something extra to the team.

"I hope he can win it with us."

PSG have failed to get past the Champions League quarter-finals in each of the last three seasons.

"There were clubs I could have gone to but my desire to be in this project and help them to win the Champions League is why I chose to come here," said di Maria.

He apologised to United fans for his underwhelming stint at Old Trafford where, after scoring three goals in his first four games and suffering a two-month injury layoff, he then faded.

"I'm aware things didn't work as we all expected and, believe me, I feel really sorry about it," he said.

"I can guarantee you it was not for trying. I did my best but football is not like maths: Often, a lot of things out of our control affect the way we feel and the way things turn out."

Adapting to life in Paris will be easier for him with compatriots Ezequiel Lavezzi and Javier Pastore there to help him.

Lavezzi, however, may have the most to lose with the arrival of di Maria. The latter is likely to team up with Cavani and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in Blanc's starting line-up.

PSG fans will have to wait for his debut, however, with di Maria behind in his pre-season preparations. He came back from the Copa America in Chile last month with a thigh injury.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 08, 2015, with the headline 'PSG expect di Maria to help club become kings of Europe'. Print Edition | Subscribe