Paris Saint-Germain may look to Angel di Maria for a lift

Former Manchester United and Real Madrid star Angel di Maria scored a cheeky back-heeled goal in a friendly between Singapore and Argentina that ended in a 6-1 win.
Former Manchester United and Real Madrid star Angel di Maria scored a cheeky back-heeled goal in a friendly between Singapore and Argentina that ended in a 6-1 win. PHOTO: AFP

Thirteen months ago, Angel di Maria strode onto the pitch of the National Stadium as the biggest name in a friendly between Singapore and Argentina.

He scored a cheeky back-heeled goal in that 6-1 win and football fans are hoping he will create more magical moments like that tonight, as Paris Saint-Germain meet Atletico Madrid in the concluding match of the International Champions Cup.

Former Manchester United and Real Madrid star di Maria flew in yesterday morning and took part in two training sessions. He, along with compatriot Giovani lo Celso, Italian midfielder Marco Verratti and French left-back Layvin Kurzawa, could feature today as PSG attempt to salvage some pride after Saturday's 5-1 walloping by Arsenal.

PSG coach Thomas Tuchel told reporters yesterday that he would make a game-day decision on di Maria's involvement.

"If it's up to me, as someone who loves the game, I would love to see di Maria (play) but I need to take care of the players and make decisions as a coach," said Tuchel, who did not field PSG's big names on Saturday and confirmed that injured German star Julian Draxler would also play no part in today's match.

Moussa Diaby and Yacine Adli, who represented France in the European Under-19 Championship last week, also arrived yesterday and are expected to feature tonight.

BALANCING ACT

If it's up to me, as someone who loves the game, I would love to see di Maria (play) but I need to take care of the players.

THOMAS TUCHEL, PSG coach, on his priorities.

Tuchel, who took over at PSG in May, also spoke about areas that PSG need to strengthen before the European transfer window closes at the end of this month. The former Borussia Dortmund man is targeting a left-back, a right-back and a central midfielder.

He said: "These are three obvious positions that we have to fill to lift our level. This is very important and we are working on that."

He also refused to rule out a move for a central defender. In recent weeks, PSG have been linked with a move for Germany and Bayern Munich centre-back Jerome Boateng.

"We have three top-level central defenders (Thiago Silva, Marquinhos and Presnel Kimpembe) and I believe in them a lot," he said. "But what happens if one gets injured, if one needs to rest or gets suspended? We have to be prepared for everything."

 

Deepanraj Ganesan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 30, 2018, with the headline 'PSG may look to di Maria for a lift'. Print Edition | Subscribe