Since the Qatari takeover in 2011, Paris Saint Germain’s objective has been domestic and European domination. While they have been successful in Ligue 1, UEFA Champions League glory has always eluded them.
In the 2019/20 season, PSG reached their first-ever Champions League final. This was a big step for the French giants despite their 1-0 loss to Bayern Munich, and the likes of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe were crucial to their success during the campaign.
However, one player who has gone relatively unnoticed and underappreciated is Angel Di Maria. The Argentina international moved to the Ligue 1 club from Manchester United for €63 million in 2015. Since then, the 32-year-old has featured in almost 150 league matches and has won a myriad of trophies.
Angel Di Maria has always been a key player for PSG but ever since the arrival of Neymar in 2017, the limelight has been on the Brazilian. In the same season, young sensation Kylian Mbappe also arrived on loan from Monaco. In the three years since, the Frenchman has followed in Neymar’s footsteps and has become one of the best players in the world.
Although Mbappe and Neymar have been the centre of attention, Angel Di Maria’s form and consistency have never let up. Year after year, he has proven himself to be pivotal to PSG’s success, and last season was no different.
Here’s what made Angel Di Maria so important in the 2019/20 season.
Angel Di Maria: Goal Contributions
Angel Di Maria has scored 47 goals and provided 57 assists in Ligue 1 over the course of his career at PSG. Last season, he chipped in with 8 goals and provided 14 assists for his teammates. Despite the abrupt stop to the football season and Ligue 1 being cancelled after 28 matches, this was one of the Argentine’s best seasons. On average, he scored or assisted 0.99 goals per 90 minutes.
He provided the most assists in Ligue 1 in the 2019/20 season and ranks first in terms of assists/90, expected assists and expected assists/90 as well. In addition, he also ranks among the top 10 in terms of goals+assists and goals+assists/90.
At the core of PSG’s free-flowing attacking football lies individual talent and a flair for the spectacular. Neymar is unmatched in those respects but Angel Di Maria is a supremely skilful player himself. He is also an incredibly intelligent player and has the vision and technical ability to pull off some outrageous passes.
In the 2019/20 season, he performed 136 shot-creating actions (SCA) and 25 goal-creating actions (GCA). These numbers are even more impressive when we consider them as 6.12 SCA per 90 and 1.13 GCA per 90. He ranks first in terms of GCA in Ligue 1 in the 2019/20 season and ranks second in terms of GCA/90, SCA and SCA/90.
In conclusion, although he is often overlooked, Angel Di Maria is one of PSG’s most important players. If he can help them to a Champions League title in the near future, he will undoubtedly go down in history as a club legend.Published 09 Sep 2020, 10:46 IST