Manchester United smashed their transfer record this week for the signature of Argentine international Angel Di Maria from Real Madrid. The £59.7 million signing arrived after Real Madrid told him he was allowed to leave the club, after the club could not agree on terms of a new deal, and as a cost cutting exercise by the FFP threatened big spenders.
But the sale of Di Maria has caused some division among fans of the club, much the same as when Real decided to sell Mesut Ozil to Arsenal last summer.
Di Maria was Real's biggest assist provider last term, with 17, and provided an astonishing 49 since 2010.
And one team that will be glad to see the back of him is Barcelona. Di Maria was always one of the better Real players when facing their El Clasico rivals. His tireless energy and pace down the flanks made him the perfect foil for Barca's tiki-taka style.
And one Barca player has echoed that sentiment in an interview with El Mundo Deportivo today, a former Liverpool hero no less. Javer Mascherano played for Liverpool between 2007 and 2010 and he had his fair share of clashes with United during his time at the club. He was sent off at Old Trafford in March 2008 and had a meltdown upon his dismissal while he ran the show in a 2-1 win at the Theatre of Dreams back in September 2008.
But he believes Real Madrid are now weaker for selling the winger, and that United have their hands on one of the world's best players:
“It’s not a matter that concerns me but I think it’s a loss (for Real). He’s a player who I like a lot. He’s among the 10 best in the world. As well as unsettling opponents, he’s able to defend and covers a lot of ground. You can use him in many positions.”
For once, Manchester United fans might just agree with Javier Mascherano.
Is Mascherano right? Is Di Maria one of the 10 best in the world?