10 February 2017
For former Real Madrid midfielder Angel Di Maria who now plays in France with Paris Saint-Germain’s is of the opinion that the French Champion’s upcoming Champions League opponents, Barcelona, are not an invincible.
The French champions have met the Catalonian side several times in recent years, but this will be Di Maria’s first occasion since his time in Spain’s capital.
“It is true that Barcelona are always dangerous and tend to arrive at 100 per cent for this stage of the season, but they have found some games difficult – such as those against Real Madrid and Atletico – and we have the quality to cause them some problems,” the Argentine said
In Spain, some journalists have discussed whether Barcelona have an over-reliance on Lionel Messi and Di Maria is quick to defend his compatriot.
“I always say the same thing: that Messi is different to the rest and when he is good, they [his teammates] are good,” he said. “MSN are the best attack in the world, at this time.”
With Barcelona currently second in LaLiga, one point behind Real Madrid but two games ahead of their rivals from the capital, some have questioned whether this team is of the same level as last year.
“It is difficult to maintain the same level every year, but I think that Barcelona are still good,” Di Maria stated.
“They’re fighting in the league, they’re in the cup final, and they’ve reached the knockout round of the Champions League.
“They will be aiming to get to the quarter-finals – like us – and we will try to do better, knowing that a good Barcelona performance could be a disaster [for PSG].”
The 28-year-old continued to rave about Messi, but is confident that Unai Emery and PSG can stop the Barcelona attacker from creating havoc.
“It’s difficult [to stop Messi], but if we are at 100 per cent and do what the coach says, we can stop them.
“I think that we have to focus on doing our job; we know what to do – keeping the ball – because Barcelona are not so strong when they don’t have the ball.”
Despite losing at the home of Los Blancos in the group stages during the 2015/16 campaign, that has not deterred Di Maria from wanting to face them in the final.
“Yes, it would be very nice [to face Real Madrid in the final],” he claimed. “When I got to Paris, I had the feeling that I would be playing Madrid, and I did in the group stages.
“It was nice to return to the Santiago Bernabeu and to see everyone. I hope that we can beat Barcelona so that I can head to Madrid for the second time in the Champions League.”
When asked about whether it would be in the final, the Argentine saw the humour in the question.
“It would be nice, because it would also mean that we are in the final,” he stated while laughing to himself.