Football News

Former Real Madrid star Angel Di Maria reveals how close he was to joining Barcelona — with transfer links resurfacing

By Ben Green

Published: 15:48, 8 June 2022

Former Real Madrid star Angel Di Maria has revealed how close he was to joining Barcelona in 2017 as the soon-to-be free agent once again emerges as a summer transfer target for the Catalan club.

The Argentina international is set to leave Paris Saint-Germain at the end of this month upon the expiration of his contract and rumours have been swirling that he could return to La Liga — only not to his old stomping ground, the Bernabeu.

After a domestically trophy-spangled seven years in the French capital, the 34-year-old — who turned out for PSG on 295 occasions — will have no shortage of suitors this summer, with plenty of clubs thought to be keeping tabs on Di Maria.

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One of whom, Barcelona, nearly snapped him up in 2017 as revealed by Di Maria himself, who told So Foot four years ago that he came close to joining his former El Clasico rivals, adding that he cared little for the repercussions of his relationship with Real fans.

He said at the time: “My relationship with Madrid is finished because my cycle there ended. Frankly, I wouldn’t have a problem to play at Barca, to the contrary.

“I was close to joining Barcelona in the summer and yet far away at the same time.

“It is hard to complete moves to these clubs. I never lost hope of it going through but in the end, it didn’t happen.”

Such is the bad blood between Real and Barcelona that players scarcely turn out for both clubs during their careers. In fact, only two players have represented both Real and Barca in the 21st century in La Liga: Luis Figo and Javier Saviola.

Other prominent names over the years include Ronaldo, Samuel Eto’o, Luis Enrique, Michael Laudrup, Gheorghe Hagi, Alfredo Di Stefano, Julen Lopetegui, Robert Prosinecki, Bernd Schuster, Laszlo Kaszas, Ricardo Zamora and Miquel Soler.