Di Maria whips Germany, but did Man Utd overpay by £24m?
Argentina winger is the star of the show in World Cup rematch, as report claims Van Gaal paid far too much
Germany 2 Argentina 4. Angel di Maria went a long way to justifying his record £60m price tag last night after claims Louis van Gaal had paid more than £20m too much for him. But unfortunately for Manchester United fans he did so while wearing the colours of Argentina as he helped destroy World Cup winners Germany in Dusseldorf.
And while the summer tournament in Brazil exposed England's weakness, this rematch between the two World Cup finalists highlighted the quality on offer in the Premier League, with five of the six goals coming from players based in England.
Di Maria was the star of the show as he propelled Argentina into a 4-0 lead, setting up goals for Man City's Sergio Aguero, Erik Lamela of Spurs and Swansea defender Federico Fernandez before adding his own name to the scoresheet after 50 minutes.
Chelsea player Andre Schurrle pulled one back for Germany before Mario Gotze claimed a second for Germany with 12 minutes remaining.
The result will leave no-one happy. "Welcome home, die Weltmeister," says Oliver Brown of the Daily Telegraph. "Except this was not quite the grand statement that the returning conquerors had in mind... Germany discovered that the brilliance that had become their hallmark throughout a triumphant campaign in Brazil deserted them for their first match back on home soil."
Argentina, mugged in the Maracana, were dominant in Dusseldorf. But it "still felt like the most Pyrrhic of victories", says Brown.
Both sides were unrecognisable from the ones who stepped out in Rio in July, and in the absence of Lionel Messi, it was Di Maria, who missed the World Cup final, who assumed the role of creator in chief for Argentina.
His performance "left Argentina fans wondering what might have been", says the Daily Mail. "Di Maria showed why he is one of the five best players in the world," Argentina coach Gerardo Martino said afterwards.
Di Maria's exploits may ease concerns that United paid far too much for the forward after an analysis of the biggest deals of the transfer window suggested he had been massively overvalued.
The Swiss-based CIES Football Observatory said transfer values were up by 16 per cent compared to the last five years, reports The Guardian. And the report claimed Di Maria had commanded the "most inflated fee in the recent window", and suggested that his price had been inflated by as much as £24m.