Di Maria to Realmadrid.com
In what was his first interview as a Madridista, Angel di Maria sat down with Real Madrid’s media outlets to discuss his life, career and future aspirations.
When did you begin playing football?
I started when I was four years old. A doctor told my mother than I need to channel my energy into sport. That is essentially when my career began.
What position did you play?
I always played up front and it worked out very well.
Are you still in touch with your childhood friends?
I still have the same seven friends that I’ve had since I was a child. They have been there for me in good times and bad.
How did you go from being like any other boy playing football with his friends to playing for a professional club?
I used to play for the team in my neighborhood and then I moved to Rosario Central which is where my career kicked off. When I was 17, the first team coach gave me the chance to play and I subsequently made my debut.
How did you go from playing for your local team to playing for a big club like Rosario? Did a scout spot you?
I always played just because I enjoyed myself. My father then gave me a push in the right direction and told me that I should see if I could play for Rosario Central.
As a child what did you want to be as an adult? Have you always wanted to be a footballer?
I wanted to be many different things, but when my father encouraged me to make a career out of football, I went for it. Thankfully, everything has worked out very well for me.
Who was your idol as a child?
I always liked Cristian ‘Kily’ Gonzalez, who played for Argentina, Inter and may other teams. He was a reference for me because he was a winger, too.
Is he still your idol today?
Yes. And I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to play with him.
When you were playing for Rosario, the next step was moving to Europe, which appear to be what a lot of Argentine players do. But did you have the chance to play for Boca Juniors as well?
I did, but for financial reasons Rosario Central wanted to sell me to a European club.
Moving to Lisbon at such a young age must have been a big change for you.
I went to Lisbon on the back of a fine performance in the Under-20 World Cup, where I was included in the squad as a substitute. I ended up becoming a starter and scored three goals in eight matches, so Benfica were interested in me. I didn’t think twice about it and moved to Portugal.
Did you go alone or did you take your family with you?
Initially my family came with me.
What do your friends have to say? What do they do?
They study, work or play football.
What did they say when you told them you would be playing for Real Madrid?
They are proud to have a friend who has played for Argentina, who has played in Europe and who now plays for one of the best teams in the world. It’s great for them and for me because we have grown up together.
How was your experience in Lisbon? Did you like it there?
I liked Lisbon a lot. It took me a while to adjust, but I got used to it. It’s a great place and I had three fantastic years there.
Who was the first person you told when you found out Real Madrid was interested in signing you?
I told my girlfriend because she has been living with for the last year, and then I told my family and friends.
How did they react?
They were delighted because playing for such a big club is a big step for me.
Many Argentine players including President of Honor Alfredo di Stefano and 30 others have worn the white shirt. You will feel right at home here.
I am over the moon to be playing here. I am only 22 years old, so it’s a great personal achievement.
Who are you most looking forward to playing with?
I am delighted to be able to play with every single one of them. I always watched them play on television so I know what to expect, but I am looking forward to playing with guys like Cristiano and Kaka.
How would you describe yourself as a player? What are your strengths and weaknesses?
I am not a tough defender, but I am good on the wing. I like taking players on. That is my strong point.
It always looks like really enjoy yourself when you play.
I haven’t changed my attitude towards the game since I was a child. I still like to have fun and I don’t plan on changing because it has obviously worked out well for me.
What are your best and worst traits as a person?
I can be a little jealous, but my best is definitely that I am a very fun person who likes to have fun.
Are you a little shy?
I can be but usually when I first meet somebody.
Have you had the chance to confirm the theory that Madrid is very similar to Buenos Aires?
I have only been here to play games, but I have heard that. Heinze and Higuain have told me that it’s a wonderful city that I won’t want to leave. I hope I settle in quickly.
Have you have already had the chance to see the Bernabeu?
I came to see a game here a year or so ago, but I don’t remember who the opponent wasthey were playing.
Are you looking forward to stepping out alongside your teammates for the first time in front of more than 80,000? Will you feel like you are under a lot of pressure or are you going to enjoy the experience?
I can’t wait to start playing because that is what I enjoy doing the most, but first I am going to rest before the preseason starts.
How does it make you feel knowing that Jose Mourinho specifically requested that you play for him?
I honestly couldn’t believe it. It is a great feeling and I will always be grateful. I am going to work very hard on and off the pitch so that he knows that he made the right decision.
What are your thoughts on La Liga?
It is certainly more competitive than the Portuguese league. It is very tough and one of the greatest in the world. I hope to adjust quicklu and to play at my best.
Who has given you the best advice out of everyone you know?
What did he say when you told him you would be playing for Real Madrid?
He has been very relaxed about everything, but I am sure that from now on he is going to be very excited.
Would you like to send a message to fans?
I am going to play at my best on the pitch and help the team to the best of my ability to win titles. I have come to Madrid on the back of a trophy with Benfica last season and I want to do the same here. My main goal is to do everything possible in order to win as many titles as possible.