Angel Di Maria can fulfil PSG’s ‘European dream’ after sealing move from Man United

Paris Saint-Germain are confident Angel di Maria can be the man to help them conquer Europe after completing the signing of the Argentina winger on Thursday.

Angel Di Maria poses with his new Paris Saint Germain jersey after a news conference in Paris. Ian Langsdon / EPA/
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Paris Saint-Germain are confident Angel di Maria can be the man to help them conquer Europe after completing the signing of the Argentina winger on Thursday.

The 27-year-old penned a four-year deal at the Parc des Princes after PSG agreed to pay Manchester United 63 million euros (Dh253.2m) to make him the second most expensive signing in French football history.

Released from the constraints of Financial Fair Play after UEFA relaxed their controversial rules earlier this summer, the French champions have made their biggest splash in the transfer market since paying 64 million euros to sign Edinson Cavani from Napoli in July 2013.

Laurent Blanc’s side’s dominance of the domestic scene was complete last season, when they claimed an unprecedented clean sweep of the domestic honours, winning the treble of Ligue 1, French Cup and League Cup after taking the season-opening Champions Trophy.

They have already won the Champions Trophy this season with a comfortable 2-0 win against Lyon, their closest challengers in the last campaign.

The squad was already good enough to win more silverware at home, but PSG’s Qatari owners are convinced securing long-time target Di Maria can help them become the first French team since Marseille in 1993 to be champions of Europe.

“It is a real honour for the club to finally sign Angel and continue our great European dream. Our great ambition as everyone knows is the Champions League,” said club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi.

“We are close to our dream. We will try this year. Angel will really give something extra to the team, especially in the Champions League. I hope he can win it with us.”

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Paris have reached the Champions League quarter-finals in each of the last three seasons, with two defeats at that stage to Barcelona sandwiching a loss on away goals to Chelsea in 2014.

“There were clubs I could have gone to but my desire to be in this project and help them to win the Champions League is why I chose to come here,” said Di Maria as he was unveiled to the media in a luxurious Paris hotel, close to the Eiffel Tower.

The biggest criticism of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, their talisman over the past three campaigns, is that he has never made a big enough impact in Europe, wherever he has been in his career.

The Swede will be 34 in October and is now entering what will be his last season in the French capital, while Di Maria arrives looking to win the Champions League for the second time after his triumph with Real Madrid in 2014.

On that night in Lisbon, Di Maria was probably Madrid’s best player as they beat their city rivals Atletico after extra time, but just a few months later he had left for United for a British record transfer fee of £59.7 million.

And yet, the former Rosario Central and Benfica star will be remembered as a costly mistake by the Old Trafford club.

Not helped by being shunted around in several different positions by manager Louis van Gaal, he lacked consistency and there was also the trauma of being at home with his family when burglars tried to break in.

He never settled in England but adapting to life in Paris will be easier with compatriots Ezequiel Lavezzi and Javier Pastore there to help him.

“For my wife and daughter it is wonderful to be able to come and live in Paris,” said the slightly-built Di Maria, who can play in midfield as well as on the wing.

“I know Pocho (Lavezzi). He has been here for various years and has been saying that it is a beautiful city. I also came because of my friendship with him.”

That said, Lavezzi is one of those who may have the most to lose with the arrival of Di Maria, who is likely to team up with Cavani and Ibrahimovic in Blanc’s strongest starting line-up.

PSG fans will have to wait for his debut, however, with Di Maria behind in his preseason preparations after coming away from the Copa America in Chile last month with a thigh injury.