Di María’s career in the national team: from Diego’s “they didn’t want him” to the goals in the final

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Difficult to know if the one on Sunday at the Lusail Stadium in Doha It was Ángel Di María’s last game in the national team shirt. If it were, there couldn’t be a better farewell for one of the most talked about Argentine footballers of the 21st century (especially from a fraction of journalism) despite being World Champion, American Champion and Olympic Champion, and scoring goals in all three finals . Football is a universe full of oddities.

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The road he had to travel was long spaghetti to win the battle (at least for now) against his critics. It took him nearly three decades. Although he had already been playing in Europe for a year (Rosario Central had sold him to Benfica in July 2007 in exchange for six million euros) and Had an outstanding job in the Under 20 team led by Hugo Tocalli that won the Under 20 World Cup in CanadaRosario’s man was seen with different eyes after his consecration at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where he began to bond with Lionel Messi.

In those Games he made his debut as a substitute in the team led by Sergio Batista and which included, in addition to Messi, Juan Román Riquelme, Sergio Agüero (he had already been his teammate in the under-20s) and Javier Mascherano, among others. By dint of good performances, he has earned a place among the starters and scored the decisive goal in the victory against the Netherlands in the quarter-finals and the gold medal in the final against Nigeria.

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His work has attracted the attention of Alfio Basile, which called him up for the first time to the senior national team for the double round of the 2010 South African qualifiers to be held in September. “I hope now that I can continue to demonstrate in the major. There aren’t many left-handed midfielders and I have to take the risk. Now I see the possibility of going to the World Cup much closer ”, he was excited after the consecration in Beijing.

Basile made his debut in a 1-1 draw against Paraguay at the Monumental on 6 September (came on for Agüero after the break), but then didn’t allow him any more chances. However, Diego Maradona renewed his credit when he took over the national team and also included him as a starter in the decisive qualifying matches against Peru at the Monumental and Uruguay at the Centenario de Montevideo.

“They resisted Di María. Against Uruguay everyone wanted me to put other players in that position. And I said to the boy: ‘I die with you’. The boy crosses the ball line with barbaric ease and tackles you. On the verge, he destroys you. He’s got a hook for the inside, for the outside, he’s got a barbarian roll and some barbarian centers, and it’s cool.”was praised as the greatest footballer of all time months later when the world cup in south africa It was just around the corner and Rosario was emerging as a fixture in the team.

In that tournament, at the age of just 22, he started four of the five games (he was only on the bench against Greece, in a duel in which Maradona reserved some players because the team had already practically secured first place in his area) . , but he didn’t exhibit his best version.

In the short interregnum of Sergius the Baptist importance lost, but recovered with Alexander Sabella, when he already shone at Real Madrid. At the World Cup in Brazil they got off to a bad start against Bosnia and Herzegovina and Iran, improved markedly against Nigeria and he had his day of glory in the round of 16 against Switzerlandscoring the winning goal in extra time and being a figure. “I was about to cry when I saw the faces of my companions, the hugs they gave me, everyone’s joy”counted after the win.

But in the duel against Belgium for the quarterfinals suffered a tear in his right thigh which forced him to leave 32 minutes into the first half (Enzo Pérez replaced him) and sidelined him from the semi-final against the Netherlands. He did the impossible to be in the final with Germany, also battle against pressure from Real Madridwho feared a serious injury that would make his transfer difficult (after the World Cup he went to Manchester United), but it didn’t arrive: he was on the bench, but he wasn’t in a position to enter a duel of that magnitude.

That frustration was followed by two more in consecutive years: the finals lost against Chile in the 2015 and 2016 editions of the Copa América. In the first, another muscle injury took him off the field when only 28 minutes had been played. In the second, almost after recovering in record time from a right adductor tear suffered in the first round, he was replaced 12′ into the second half.

After the interlude Edgardo Bauzza and already with George Sampaoli on the bench he participated in the collapse at the World Cup in Russia. He contributed very little against Iceland and Nigeria, didn’t play in the overwhelming against Croatia and gave his best against France (he even scored a goal), but that didn’t stop him from finding himself once again in the eye of the storm . In the clamor for the massive resignation after the elimination, which began with Messi, there was also his name.

However, the Rosary did not give up. “It’s hard when things don’t go your way. But football has these things. Now the important thing is to get up and keep fighting for that dreamhe wrote on his Instagram account 10 days after the loss to the eventual world champions.

Regardless of his will, his continuity was unclear during the first section of the cycle Lionel Scaloni. He was not called up for the six friendlies that played out in the final months of 2018 and when he was finally named for duels against Morocco and Venezuela in March 2019, a muscle lesion of the left rectus femoris ruled it outfor which he was only able to return to the Copa América in Brazil.

A very weak performance in the first half of his debut in a defeat against Colombia took him off the field at Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador and demoted him for the rest of the tournament, in which he added only a handful of minutes in the following games. After that tournament, there was another parenthesis that risked being definitive, especially after being excluded from the squad for the first two Qualifying matches against Ecuador and Bolivia in October 2020, despite the excellent performance in Paris Saint -Germain.

“If I break my ass at the club it’s to try to have a chance in the national team and be able to compete. Difficult to understand that being in a good moment I am not summonedand they didn’t even give me the explanation ”he later complained. “Many say I’m old, but I’m 32 and I still run the same way, in every game I prove that I’m not. I don’t know if I will reach this level until the World Cup, but I will give 100% to return to the national team.”He added.

That outburst ended up paying off. Hours after those words, Scaloni contacted him. In a video call that included tears from both leads, they clarified the differences. A few days later, the coach presented the squad for the matches against Paraguay and Peru for qualifying for Qatar 2022 and here he is again spaghetti.

Since then, and after the football stop imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, Di María’s most brilliant year and a half came with the Albiceleste shirtwhich had as highlights the great goal against Brazil in the Copa América final at the Maracana, in the Final against Italy at Wembley and the goal against France in the final on Sunday, after having lost almost the entire knockout stage directed to Qatar due to another muscle discomfort (in the quarterfinals against the Netherlands he had added only 10 minutes).

Source: Clarin

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