AN UNDERRATED LEGEND

AN UNDERRATED LEGEND

By Chima Azu

The World Cup in Qatar has ended but left us with a lot of memorable footballing moments which will linger for a lifetime. Many players stood out for the eventual champions Argentina, the likes of Enzo Fernandez, Mac Allister, Rodrigo DePaul, goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez and obviously the Lionel Messi who is arguably the Greatest of All Time (G.O.A.T)

However, Angel Di Maria has always stood at the crucial moment for his national team. He is one player that has not gotten the kind of recognition he deserves. He has always played a pivotal role in helping Argentina win trophies in recent years. The Juventus man has been significant for the Albiceleste right from the Olympics, Copa America, Finalisima, and eventually the World Cup.

In the Olympic Games in China 2008, Argentina won gold in football by defeating Nigeria 1-0 in the final and guess who scored, Angel Di Maria. He scored a sublime goal by chipping the onrushing goalkeeper and that was the only decisive goal of the match.

Also, at the Estadio De Maracana in Brazil 2021, Argentina defeated the host at their own backyard in the final. The game ended 1-0 in favor of Argentina and again it was Di Maria that scored a similar goal like that of the Olympic by lobbing Brazil’s goalkeeper Alisson. That was the only goal of the game that gave the Argentines the trophy that eluded them after suffering much heartbreak by losing two Copa America finals back-to-back to Chile in 2015 and 2016.

Italy and Argentina played for the Finalissima trophy in June earlier this year (that’s the winner of the Euros versus the winner of Copa America. It was a one sided affair for the South American champions as they cruised to a 3-0 victory at Wembley. Once again Di Maria was on the score-sheet scoring the second goal of the game. He lashed on to a through ball and dinked it over Donnaruma to double his side’s lead.

At the final in Qatar he was a menace to the French defense with his speed, dribbling ability and trickery. He won the penalty which Messi converted to give them the lead. After a lovely counter attack, he tapped in a lovely pass from Mac Allister to put them 2 goals up. He was later subbed off which was wrong tactical move from the coach because that made the French side to attack more, something they failed to do previously in the game.

Angel Di Maria deserves more credit and buzz than he is getting for La Albiceleste; obviously Messi is the Kingpin of the national side but after him Di Maria should be getting more accolades. One can’t be more important to a team than the aforementioned and still be this underrated. The former PSG man honestly deserves more praise.

 

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