Real Madrid have found that Angel Di Maria did not direct an offensive gesture at the club’s own fans during Monday’s 3-0 win over Celta Vigo.
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When substituted during the Liga match at the Bernabeu, Di Maria appeared to grab his crotch provocatively in reaction to whistles from home fans unhappy with his performance, although he claimed afterwards that he had just been “adjusting himself” and had not directed any gesture at anyone.
With images of the act widely shown on Spanish TV and published in the local and global media -- and Di Maria reportedly unhappy at a lack of backing from the club’s hierarchy -- Madrid quickly launched their own internal investigation into the incident.
Within 24 hours it had been determined that the player would face no punishment for his actions, as communicated in an official statement released on Thursday, which gave no details of who had conducted the inquiry or the criteria the decision had been based on.
“Real Madrid communicates that the investigation opened into the player Angel Di Maria has concluded without any punishment,” the statement said. “The investigator has judged that it cannot be concluded that Di Maria was responsible for making offensive gestures towards the fans at the Santiago Bernabeu on January 6 last and, therefore, has committed no type of error which deserves a disciplinary punishment. Consequently, the club’s board has decided to file away the case.”
The Argentine winger is therefore free to play for Madrid in Thursday evening’s Copa del Rey last 16 first leg clash with Osasuna at the Bernabeu, although coach Carlo Ancelotti told his pregame news conference that he would be on the bench to allow the fit again Gareth Bale to start.
Ancelotti also asked Madrid fans to move on and not hold the incident against the 25-year-old.
There are still doubts as to whether Di Maria -- a reported target for Monaco, Manchester United and Arsenal -- will remain at the Bernabeu, with well-placed sources in Spain reporting this week that Madrid would accept a bid of around 30 to 35 million euros for his services this month.
Di Maria says he is keen to stay at the club, and claimed that the whole situation has been created by Spanish journalists who dislike him personally. However, his own agent has blamed Madrid president Florentino Perez for unsettling a player who last summer showed determination to stay and fight for his place in the team despite Bale’s big money arrival from Tottenham.