Paris Saint-Germain’s Angel Di Maria said that he would have no problem playing for Barcelona if the opportunity presents itself despite having already played for Real Madrid in the past.
The Argentina international was at the Santiago Bernabeu from 2010 to 2014 and won the 2013-14 Champions League in his final season.
Speaking with So Foot ahead of the first leg of PSG’s Champions League round-of-16 tie with Madrid, Di Maria admitted that the idea of playing for their rivals does not pose a problem.
The 30-year-old added that the only club he will not sign for is formative club Rosario Central’s bitter rivals Newell’s Old Boys.
“My relationship with Real is over,” Di Maria said. “I completed my cycle there a long time ago.
“Honestly, I would have no problem playing for Barca — the contrary, in fact. The only club that I will never sign for is Newell’s because I am a Central fan.”
Lionel Messi, the Barca star and Di Maria’s Argentina teammate, has spoken in the past of his desire to play for Newell’s before he finishes his career.
Di Maria harbours the same sort of ambition but longs for a Central return instead, which would make the pair rivals if their paths were to cross there.
“I want to play for Central because I love the club,” Di Maria said. “I was raised there and taught football there. Central is where it all began for me.
“Leo can do what he wants but in Rosario, football evokes such passion and I want to feel that again.”
Di Maria also said it was upsetting to receive a letter from Madrid on the day of the 2014 World Cup final that informed him that his club would take no responsibility for any injuries he sustained if he played.
The winger had picked up an injury in the quarterfinal against Belgium and missed the semifinal against the Netherlands. Di Maria did not appear in the final and the episode pushed him toward a move to Manchester United that summer.
“[The letter] was difficult to read and the I tore it up,” Di Maria said. “The letter stated that the Argentina national team were to take responsibility for me in case anything happened to me in the event that I featured in the final.
“Right then, I started to look for a new club. I do not need to remember this letter to be motivated to play against Real, though. Playing against Real is already motivation in itself.”
Despite his superb form in 2018, Di Maria is not certain to be part of Unai Emery’s starting XI for the game at the Bernabeu on Wednesday.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.