Angel Di Maria appreciates Cristiano Ronaldo support at Real Madrid
Angel Di Maria has expressed his gratitude towards his close friend Cristiano Ronaldo for fighting his corner during their time together at Real Madrid.
Manchester United's record 59.7 million pound signing ended his four-year spell at the Santiago Bernabeu on a high, by helping the club to win their long-awaited "Decima" (10th) Champions League title.
But Di Maria says that such success was only made possible because of Ronaldo's influence at the club, with the Portuguese star able to convince the Los Blancos board not to part with the Argentine last summer.
"The truth is I have a great friendship with Cristiano Ronaldo," he revealed in an interview with ESPN.
"He always supported me at every moment and when it looked like I was going to leave he fought my corner and the truth is thanks to him I was at Real Madrid last season.
"I ended up winning the Champions League in the year when it seemed I would leave; I left in the best way possible, with the 'Decima.'"
The 26-year-old midfielder has previously admitted that he hopes to follow in the footsteps of Ronaldo at Old Trafford, though he insists that he does not feel burdened by being handed the famous No. 7 jersey -- that Ronaldo, among other United legends, had previously adorned -- or by his British transfer record fee.
"It's a nice thing to wear a shirt that so many great players have worn. For the club, the No. 7 is very important. It's the number the best players have worn. It's great, but it doesn't add any pressure for me.
"You don't think about those things, you think about working hard and doing the best you can. I am grateful to Manchester United for paying what Real Madrid wanted, and for wanting me as much as I wanted to come here.
"They didn't try and knock Madrid down by a single pound and that means a lot to me. I will try to give everything for this club."
The World Cup runner-up made his United debut in Saturday's 0-0 draw with Burnley and says that he hopes to adjust quickly to the demands of English football.
"Training sessions are more physical than in Spain. In football terms, the players are very strong, very fast and I have to adapt to that as quickly as possible to improve all the time," he added.
Di Maria is currently away on international duty with Argentina ahead of their World Cup final rematch against Germany on Wednesday and he says that he is looking forward to playing under newly appointed coach Gerardo Martino, who was relieved of his Barcelona post at the end of last season.
"From what Leo [Messi] and [Javier] Mascherano have told me he is a great person. He likes hard work and he likes to have a content and united squad. I hope it goes well for us," he concluded.