Manchester United flop Angel Di Maria has claimed he ‘didn’t give a f***’ about wearing the club’s iconic number seven shirt during his sole season at Old Trafford in 2014/15.
The jersey had been made famous over the decades by club legends George Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo. But Di Maria, who hasn’t held back from criticising United since he left in 2015, is among a string of disappointments more recently.
Number seven remains precious to United fans, but Di Maria has dismissed its significance.
“I didn't give a f*** about the Manchester United number seven,” the winger said in an interview with TyC Sports feature Libero Vs. “At first they talked to me a lot about it. It was just a shirt.”
Di Maria, who wears 11 for Paris Saint-Germain, previously said in an interview last year that he would have preferred to wear 11 at United, only for seven to be forced upon him.
“At Real Madrid, number 11 was already taken, so I took 22. At Manchester United they gave me number seven, I didn’t get a choice. I would have liked 11 but there we are. [At PSG], I had a choice, so I chose 11!” he explained.
Di Maria’s comments since leaving United are far removed from what he said while he was actually at the club. Speaking in 2014, the Argentine said it was a 'source of motivation’ to wear seven - and he even has a tattoo of the number on his arm.
“When you wear a shirt that’s been worn by the likes of David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo, it’s something you’re always going to be pleased about,” he said at the time, massively contradicting his opinion on the matter now.
“The fact that the club have chosen to give me that shirt number also gives me a huge confidence boost, so that’s why I’m very happy to have this number.”
Di Maria was initially hailed as a masterful signing when what was then a British record £59.7m transfer from Real Madrid was completed in 2014. He had been man of the match in the previous season’s Champions League final and was a star of that summer’s World Cup.
He even started in sensational form, ripping QPR to shreds in a famous performance at Old Trafford. But a strained relationship with manager Louis van Gaal and difficulty settling off the pitch resulted in him being sold at a £15m loss after only season in Manchester.
In his Libero Vs. interview, he said, “My problem at Manchester was the coach. Van Gaal was the worst of my career. I would score, assist, and the next day he would show me my misplaced passes. He displaced me from one day to the other, he didn't like players being more than him.”