Van Gaal predicted problem before Di Maria's wife's brutal Man Utd criticism

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Angel Di Maria
Angel Di Maria's stint at Manchester United did not go to plan (Image: Matthew Peters/Manchester United)

Angel Di Maria realised a lifelong dream last month when Argentina won the World Cup for just the third time in their history.

For Di Maria, who scored in the World Cup final, La Albiceleste's triumph in Qatar is the crowning moment of a storied career; a dream ending for a player who has become synonymous with success at almost every club he's played for except Manchester United.

Unfortunately for Di Maria, his brief stint at Old Trafford was anything but a dream. His nightmare spell in the Premier League was mercifully short-lived after Paris Saint-Germain agreed to stump up £60million to bring him to the French capital, but there was still time for his wife, Jorgelina Cardoso, to brand Manchester "a s***hole".

Louis van Gaal was the man responsible for bringing Di Maria to Old Trafford and, rather interestingly, hinted that he was always aware that Di Maria could struggle to acclimatise to life in the Premier League.

Back in 2014, the Dutchman was asked by Sky Sports what Di Maria could bring to Old Trafford as he joined from Real Madrid and while he tipped Di Maria to make a big impact, he also stressed that was reliant on the winger adapting to life Manchester and the Premier League.

Marcel Sabitzer completes Man Utd transfer after last-minute deadline day dash eridzriquhikeinvMarcel Sabitzer completes Man Utd transfer after last-minute deadline day dash

"He shall contribute very much in our way of playing," Van Gaal said. "He is also a creative player, I can change the system with Di Maria because he can play on the wing and also play in midfield, so I think he can contribute, which is very important. But we don't have to expect that from tomorrow.

"The world has changed - he has to adapt to the culture of England, to the culture of the Premier League and the philosophy of Manchester United."

Join the debate! What did you make of Di Maria's stint at Man Utd? Let us know here.

Van Gaal predicted problem before Di Maria's wife's brutal Man Utd criticismLouis van Gaal predicted Di Maria could struggle at Old Trafford (Getty Images)

Unfortunately, for both Di Maria and Manchester United, Van Gaal was correct. The veteran failed to settle off the pitch after leaving Madrid and struggled to produce the goods on it. Di Maria scored just four goals in his only season at Old Trafford and his most memorable moment in a United shirt was arguably a high-profile spat with Wayne Rooney.

Despite previously insisting Manchester United were "the only club" that he would have left Real Madrid for, Di Maria claimed after his sorry stint that he actually wanted to stay in the Spanish capital. He also slammed Van Gaal, labelling him as "the worst coach of his career".

But even Di Maria's comments pale in comparison to his wife's verdict on life on these shores. Speaking to Los Angeles de la Manana back in 2020, Cardoso revealed that she had pleaded with Di Maria to stay put and that the pair "fought" about moving to England.

Van Gaal predicted problem before Di Maria's wife's brutal Man Utd criticismDi Maria and his wife Jorgelina Cardoso were far happier in France than Manchester (Getty Images)

"I remember Angel coming up and saying, 'An offer from Manchester United has come in. Maybe we'll be a little more financially secure'. We fought about it. I told him, not a chance, he could go on his own. 'No, come on. Let's go,' he replied. There was a lot of money involved, and afterwards, the Spanish were calling us money grabbers. And they were right!"

Di Maria, who became the most expensive player in British history at the time, was reportedly pocketing a cool £175,000-a-week at his new club. But, it seems, no amount of money would convince Cardoso to head back to their old haunt.

After branding Manchester as "horrible" and a "s***hole", she added: "I didn't like anything about it, not a thing. The women are all pasty-faced and white, prim and proper... weird. You're walking down the street and you don't know if they're going to kill you or what.

"The food's disgusting. All the girls are all dolled up to the nines, perfectly made-up and there's me with my hair in a bun and with no make-up on."

Man Utd deadline day live updates as Sabitzer completes loan moveMan Utd deadline day live updates as Sabitzer completes loan move

Di Maria moved to Italy after agreeing a one-year deal with Juventus in the summer. It remains to be seen if that stay will be extended at the end of the season; but whatever happens, it's probably a safe bet to assume that Di Maria doesn't fancy another crack at the Premier League.

Dan Marsh

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