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Wednesday 7 December 2016

Angel Di Maria: I can't wait to get back into Champions League after year out with Man United

Paris St Germain's Edinson Cavani (R) celebrates with teammate Angel Di Maria (L) after scoring the second goal for his team against Bordeaux during their French Ligue 1 soccer match at Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, France, September 11, 2015
Paris St Germain's Edinson Cavani (R) celebrates with teammate Angel Di Maria (L) after scoring the second goal for his team against Bordeaux during their French Ligue 1 soccer match at Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, France, September 11, 2015

Angel Di Maria is excited about making a return to the Champions League with Paris St Germain after missing out last season with Manchester United.

The Argentina midfielder joined PSG this summer in a 63 million euro (£44.3million) transfer from the Barclays Premier League giants.

He had only moved to the Red Devils a year earlier, shortly after lifting the Champions League trophy with Real Madrid.

Di Maria, who started for the first time for PSG in Friday's Ligue 1 clash with Bordeaux, a game that ended in a 2-2 draw, is expected to be included in the line-up for his side's Champions League Group A opener against Malmo at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday.

"It was tough for me last season as I didn't play much and it was difficult watching the Champions League on TV after I had won it the season before with Madrid," he said in an interview with Le Parisien.

"It's a magnificent competition and on Tuesday I will feel the same emotions I've had ever since I played my first [Champions League] match for Benfica."

The 27-year-old also says he is happy in France after signing a four-year contract with the defending Ligue 1 champions.

Asked about his brief spell in England, Di Maria said: "Honestly, we were not happy. At the beginning, we were a little happy but then things got complicated.

"Life in England was difficult and it isn't easy for a South American. Some people adapt, but for others it is harder."

Di Maria also admits he had a difficult relationship with United's Dutch coach Louis van Gaal while his family became unsettled when their house in Prestbury, Cheshire, was burgled in February.

"I didn't get on very well with the coach," he said. "So I believe the decision to join Paris was the best solution.

"After the break-in it wasn't reasonable to stay. My family wasn't happy, my daughter was suffering, so it was important to leave.

"At the end of the season when I left to play in the Copa America I made the decision [to leave], and I saw there was the possibility to join PSG.

"I could have joined them a year earlier before I moved to Manchester but it didn't happen. But I think my destiny was to go to Paris.

"From what I've seen so far, our life here in France is more like the life we led in Spain or Portugal. And at the moment, we are 100 per cent satisfied."

Di Maria has been dazzled by the talent PSG has, especially that of star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

"I have been fortunate enough to play with (Argentina's) Leo (Messi), with (Real Madrid's) Cristiano (Ronaldo) and (United's Wayne) Rooney, and now Ibra," he said. "I'm really impressed by his technical quality and his movement.

"He is on the same level as Leo and Cristiano."

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