PSG's Angel Di Maria motivated to face Real Madrid after contentious exit
Paris Saint-Germain winger Angel Di Maria said he will not be lacking for motivation when he returns to former club Real Madrid on Wednesday, with the Argentina international angrily recalling a letter which he received on the day of the 2014 World Cup final.
Di Maria spent four seasons at Madrid after arriving from Benfica in 2010, but with his position covered by the signings of Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez, he was sold to Manchester United just months after being named man of the match in the 2014 Champions League final victory.
That same summer, Madrid reportedly pressured the Argentina FA to not risk playing Di Maria in the World Cup final due to fears it would affect his transfer value, and in the end, he was an unused substitute as his country were beaten in extra time by Germany.
Speaking to So Foot ahead of his return to the Bernabeu, Di Maria recalled discarding the letter from Madrid and suggested there are still hard feelings around how his time at the Bernabeu had ended.
"I received the letter the same day as the final, read it, and ripped it up," Di Maria said. "It said Argentina would be responsible for what happened if I played the final. I don't need to remember that final to be motivated against them. To play against Madrid is a motivation in itself."
Di Maria, more recently, has often been linked with a move to Barcelona to team up with international colleague Lionel Messi and has said he would have no problem playing there.
The 30-year-old has made just four substitute appearances in the Champions League this season, with PSG coach Unai Emery preferring to field his high-profile attacking trio of Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe.
He is expected to be on the bench again at the Bernabeu despite a hat trick in last week's 4-1 Coupe de France win at Sochaux.
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan