Ángel Di María on Returning To Play in Lisbon, Matchup Against Bayern Munich, and Thomas Tuchel

In Paris Saint-Germain’s 3-0 win over RB Leipzig, Ángel Di María factored in all three goals with one goal and two assists to help Les Parisiens advance to their first UEFA Champions League final.

The 32-year-old sat down with the UEFA website to discuss the variety of topics, with the first being returning to Lisbon, Portugal. 

Di María began his career in Europe with SL Benfica and won the Champions League final in 2014 when Real Madrid defeated Atlético Madrid, where he was named man of the match. 

“It would be very special, very important for me and my career. When they changed the venue to Lisbon, I had a strange feeling in my body that reminded me of the old times when I lived here for three years and how happy I was in Lisbon during those years,” Di María said.

“Then, to be able to get to a final and make history with a club like Paris – reaching their first final – and because I won it in 2014 with Real Madrid in the same stadium … And to also have the chance to play the quarters and semis at the Estádio da Luz, as well as the final. It’s been a great combination for me. It’s felt really great.”

Di María then began discussing the PSG project since his arrival in 2015, and his first season would mark the last time the capital club would advance past the Round of 16 until this campaign. 

“I’ve always been part of an incredible squad, from the moment I arrived [in 2015]. We’ve had amazing groups of players, but sometimes things don’t work out for one reason or another. This time, not only me but everyone at the club can tell you there’s a great atmosphere – there’s a good energy among the people working at the club, the players, the coaching staff, the medical team, everyone,” Di María said.

“There’s been an incredible atmosphere since the beginning of the year, and I think that’s the reason for everything we’ve won: the league, the two cups [French Cup and League Cup] and the Super Cup at the start of the season. We’re one step away from finishing an incredible year, but it’s a difficult step because Bayern are a tough team. I’m sure this will be a great final.”

With the capital club in their first Champions League final, El Fideo talked about their opponent, FC Bayern Munich.

“They’re tough, they’re a really well-organized team, and I think this will be their 11th European Cup final. It won’t be easy at all. They have very experienced players, players who’ve won World Cups, players who play at a very high level. We’ll try to do our best like we’ve been doing this whole time,” Di María said.

“We’ll keep doing the same thing. We know they have amazing players, players in incredible form, but we also have good players, our own system, our own way of playing, and I think we have a group that deserves to win the Champions League.”

The Argentina international then transitioned over to his coach, Thomas Tuchel, who is in his second season as manager of PSG. 

“He’s a great coach. The most important thing for him as a coach is the group. He’s assembled a nice squad, and that’s what has enabled us to reach the final and win all the competitions we’ve won. Reaching the Champions League final means he’s done really well with the squad,” Di María said. 

“It’s normal that there are some players who are not so happy when they don’t play, but I think he’s always tried to make everyone play in the best possible way. The club trusted him after last season when we only won the league, and we lost the other two competitions and got eliminated by Manchester United. The club knew he could do it.”

Finally, Di María opened up on what it would mean to win the first European title. 

“It’s a special feeling. I saw that after winning the semi-final, with the videos of people in Paris – on the Champs-Élysées, at the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe. I think it’s very special for all Parisians. It’s something the club had been trying to achieve for years: to make it to a Champions League final. I think the time has come,” Di María said.

“If we win it for the first time with Paris, we’ll become part of the club’s history. We’d always be remembered at the club because it would be the first European title. I won Real Madrid’s tenth title, which the club couldn’t win for years, and winning that tenth title was something amazing for Madrid – and I became part of the club’s history. Winning a first title here would be unforgettable for me personally because that’s been my goal since I joined.”

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Tags Angel Di Maria Bayern Munich Champions League Real Madrid Thomas Tuchel
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