Paris Saint-Germain attacker Angel Di Maria has recalled how he tore up a letter from Real Madrid asking him not to play in the 2014 World Cup final.
Di Maria was desperate to feature for the Albiceleste against Germany, but was short of full fitness after suffering an injury in the quarter-final win against Belgium.
“The only three who know the truth are doctor Daniel Martinez, [coach] Alejandro Sabella and me,” he told Telefe. “I had a [muscle] tear in the game against Belgium, I was at about 90 per cent. The leg wasn’t totally right, but I wanted to play and I didn’t care at all if I never played football again.
“It was one of the things I was told could happen, but for me it was the World Cup final, it was my final.”
But Madrid were worried that their player, who had been Man of the Match in May as Real won the Champions League against Atletico in Lisbon, might suffer a serious injury.
“I knew they wanted to sell me,” Di Maria said. “And so the letter arrived. Daniel told me it was from Real Madrid, but I didn’t even want to look at it and I tore it up.
“I went to talk to Alejandro and I told him, crying, that I wasn’t at 100%. I knew he loved me and that he wanted me to play, but he sought the best for the team.
“I was going to have an injection. I wanted to try. But after the meeting, he decided to play Enzo Perez in my place.”
Di Maria did not even make it onto the pitch in the 1-0 defeat to Germany and was sold by Real Madrid to Manchester United later in the summer.