Record signing Angel Di Maria says he joined Manchester United “to help” in coach Louis van Gaal’s rebuilding process.
The Old Trafford club ended a disappointing campaign last season, finishing seventh in the Premier League; thereby missing out on a European championship slot.
Van Gaal, after leading the Netherlands to a third-place finish at the 2014 Fifa World Cup, is saddled with the task of helping revive the dwindling fortunes at the 20-time champions but was greeted with large cases of injury concerns.
“I have come to help raise the game and become an important team once again. I want to win many trophies with them,” said Di Maria in his first media briefing since penning a five-year British record deal.
United’s Dutch boss, at the unveiling of the £59.7m record signing, said he expects the Argentine midfielder to be “a team player”.
The “restoration” and “rebuilding” process at the club- many, including legendary midfielder Paul Scholes- have envisaged will not be feasible with just a couple of signings. The manager, however, revealed the club expects to do more business.
Alongside Di Maria, United have signed Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera and Marcos Rojo this summer. The 63-year-old manager is reportedly keen on a late transfer coup for Juventus’ Arturo Vidal and defender Daley Blind of Ajax- a member of his squad at the World Cup in Brazil.
“The club will [announce] when the time’s there. Players will leave, others will come,” he said at the news conference.
Having made his professional debut for Rosario Central in his homeland at the tender age of 17, Di Maria moved to Europe in 2007 to play for Benfica, where he won many plaudits- top of it the Primeira Liga title in his final season with the Estadio Da Luz giants in 2010.
He joined Real Madrid for an initial fee of €25million. He won the 2012 La Liga and two Copa del Reys, in addition to the 2014 Uefa Champions League triumph in Lisbon, where he was named Man of the Match after a 4-1 extra-time win over city rivals Atletico Madrid.
United were handed a rare leverage to sign the much coveted Argentina World Cup star, who early into the current season was unsettled by the arrival of James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos at the Santiago Bernebeu, when Paris St-Germain pulled out of the race for the playmaker.
Di Maria said: “Manchester United have already won many trophies and are a very big team.
“I’m very pleased to play for Manchester United. I like the team and I wanted to come here even though they’re not playing in the Champions League. I want to help the team get into the Champions League. I’m pleased with the manager for choosing me to come to Manchester United.”
He is in contention for a debut appearance at Turf Moor on Saturday against promoted Burnley and will wear the number seven jersey, following in the footsteps of his former Real Madrid team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo, Eric Cantona, George Best, David Beckham and Bryan Robson. Michael Owen and Antonio Valencia are the two other players to have worn the legendary No. 7 shirt.
“I am aware of its importance,” Di Maria said on Thursday. “Cristiano Ronaldo spoke to me at Real Madrid and explained how important it is. I want to wear the shirt and do as much as I can for the club, like Ronaldo did. The club also wanted me to wear the no.7 shirt and I hope I can live up to it.”