When Gareth Bale signed for Los Blancos for a world record fee, many expected that Angel Di Maria would be the first player to depart, as Real Madrid wanted to recoup some of the heavy investment made in the Welsh star. Instead of wilting, Di Maria decided to fight for his place, not accepting move away from the Bernabeu. He refused to move to the White Hart Lane a piece in the Bale transfer. Di Maria has performed well recently, and now looks ready to give Bale a run for his money for a starting berth.

Gareth Bale's injury issues have given Angel Di Maria time to convince Carlo Ancelotti that he should start

Gareth Bale’s injury issues have given Angel Di Maria time to convince Carlo Ancelotti that he should start

Since joining the Spanish giants, Gareth Bale has certainly looked short of fitness and has not shown the class he displayed so often at Tottenham Hotspur. Carlo Ancelotti is aware of this fact. After the Champions League fixture against FC Copenhagen, he said about Bale, “He has not been 100 per cent, but after two weeks he will be in top shape. It’s normal he is not happy – he wants to play. He is very excited and it’s not a problem – now there is time for him to reach optimum fitness and to avoid [further] injuries.”

While an injured Gareth Bale watched Real Madridai??i??s Champions League match with FC Copenhagen from the stands, Angel Di Maria performed at his brilliant best. Argentinean winger set up a fantastic assist for Cristiano Ronaldoai??i??s second goal, via rabona. Di Maria followed that assist with a brace of goals. In Real Madridai??i??s encounter against Malaga on Saturday, Di Maria again looked the most likely player to make something happen in the first half. He was always a threat when cutting inside. He was the inspiration for the opening goal, as his cross-come-shot went into the far corner of the goal.

While Di Maria has had the ability to affect matches, the consistency of his performances is something new. During his first three seasons, Di Mariaai??i??s performances in a Real Madrid shirt had been inconsistent. He had a remarkable performance during their first-leg Champions League quarter-final victory overAi??Spurs, where he scored Madridai??i??s third goal. He then followed that by getting sent off against Barcelona in the Copa Del Rey Final. His performances over his second and third Madrid seasons were mixed with moments of good play interspersed with moments of utter ineptitude by theAi??winger.

This season, it appears Di Maria has improved since the departure of Jose Mourinho and the appointment of Carlo Ancelotti. The Italian manager is a big admirer of his commitment. “He can play in many positions – on the right, on the left or in the centre,” he said. “He is very flexible and that makes him important.” He already has two goals and three assists to his name in first two Champions League matches, which betters his last campaign in club footballai??i??s premier competition, of zero goals and four assists in eleven matches.

Once Bale regains full fitness from his injury, Carlo Ancelotti will be under pressure to select him, given the vast outlay on him and the much criticized sale of Mesut Ozil to Arsenal. However, if the ongoing Casillas selection saga has told us anything, itai??i??s that Ancelotti will find a way to give starts to any player he feels puts the team in the best position to win. And based on current form, Di Maria is a player Carlo Ancelotti cannot bench.

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