When Carlo Ancelotti said yesterday that Angel Di Maria “used to lose control sometimes, misplacing important passes”, it sounded like a manager covering his backside.
After all, the Real Madrid boss has seen his former player hit the ground running at Man United. He must simply be making excuses for mistakenly selling the Argentinian wizard. Right?
Wrong. It turns out the most wonderfully eyebrowed man in football had a point. The passing stats for all Real Madrid players during Di Maria’s four years at the Bernabeu show the Argentine gave the ball away a lot.
23.2% of all his passes failed to reach their target – only reserve striker Alvaro Morata and (slightly incredibly) Gareth Bale were more profligate in possession.
But it gets worse – a lot worse if you support Man United. Di Maria may have created a lot of chances since he signed, but he has a higher percentage of failed passes than any other player at the club this season.