Di Maria said Van Gaal was the WORST coach he’s ever had and blamed him for flopping at Man United – but the Dutch boss can’t help but laugh! Hostilities are renewed as Argentina face Holland
Angel di Maria’s bitter feud with old Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal saw an unexpected development on Thursday as the Dutch manager madly played down their rift in the strangest of ways during a press conference with Memphis Depay.
‘Di Maria calling me the worst manager he has ever had? He’s one of the few players with this opinion,’ he told the media on Thursday.
‘I’m really sorry about this and I find it sad he said this. Memphis had to deal with it too in Manchester, and now we kiss each other on the mouth.’
Angel di Maria labelled Holland manager Louis van Gaal the ‘worst coach of his career’ in 2019
Van Gaal bizarrely joked he and ex-Man United star Depay ‘now kiss each other on the mouth’
The quip was made in an effort to play down the Dutch manager’s apparent feud with Di Maria
Depay, who struggled at Old Trafford before emerging as one of Van Gaal’s most important players for Holland, simply burst out laughing, expecting nothing less from his maverick coach.
But it won’t all be fun and games on Friday — Di Maria and Van Gaal go head-to-head in the World Cup quarter-finals as Holland and Argentina bid for spots in the last four.
Consumed with animosity towards Van Gaal following his frosty exit from United in 2015, Di Maria labelled his old manager the ‘worst coach of his career’ in an interview with Argentine outlet TyC Sports.
Van Gaal coached the Argentine after he arrived at Manchester United for £60million in 2014
He told the television channel in 2019: ‘My problem in Manchester was the coach. Van Gaal was the worst coach of my career.
‘I would score, assist and the next day he would show me my misplaced passes.
‘He displaced me from one day to the next, he didn’t like players to be above him.’
After signing for a then British record fee of £60million from Real Madrid in 2014, the Argentine made a positive start to life at Old Trafford with three goals and four assists in his opening six league games of the season.
But his form soon fell off a cliff – not helped by his house being burgled – and he failed to find the net again for the remainder of the season before moving on to Paris Saint-Germain.
Di Maria subsequently endured a torrid season with the Red Devils under Van Gaal in 2014-15
The playmaker started life at Old Trafford well but his form faltered, and he left after one year
Di Maria claimed in another 2019 interview that one argument with Van Gaal wholly derailed his Red Devils career.
‘I was at Manchester and everything was fine with Van Gaal during the first two months,’ he revealed to Argentine television programme ESPN Redes.
‘After one fight, things weren’t the same. The relationship wasn’t the same.
‘The fight with Van Gaal occurred because he was always showing me bad and negative things and all that held me back.
Argentina are preparing to face Van Gaal’s Holland in the World Cup quarter-finals on Friday
‘One day I fought with him. I told him I didn’t want to see those things anymore, that I was doing things well and asked him why he wasn’t showing me good things.
‘He did not like how I spoke to him and from there the whole problem started.’
Van Gaal fired back a month later and said to BBC Sport: ‘Di Maria says it was my problem. I played him in every attacking position.
‘You can check that. He never convinced me in any of those positions.
‘He could not deal with the continuous pressure on the ball in the Premier League. That was his problem.’
Di Maria claimed in 2019 that one argument with Van Gaal derailed his entire United career
Since leaving United, Di Maria recorded 93 goals and 119 assists at PSG in 295 appearances, reviving his career before moving to Juventus on a free transfer in July.
Although his start in Turin has been blighted by injury since the summer, the 34-year-old recovered in time for the World Cup and has since started three out of Argentina’s four games at the tournament under Lionel Scaloni.
Di Maria now goes head-to-head against Van Gaal’s Holland for a spot in the semi-finals against either Croatia or Brazil.
The winger will no doubt be champing at the bit to show up his former manager at the Lusail Stadium on Friday. Van Gaal, on the other hand, seems to be laughing off the icy memories.