Mustapha 'El Loco' Kamaruddin talks about Angel Di Maria's fall from grace at Real Madrid, as the winger continues to be ignored for selection by club manager Jose Mourinho
What is happening to Real Madrid winger Angel Di Maria?
This must be the question playing on the minds of this Argentina international fans.
Di Maria was one of the influential figures in Real's success of winning the Primera Liga title last season.
However, it has been some time now since Di Maria has seen action right from the start...yes...in the starting line-up.
Nothing much has been said in the press on him of late too.
It is obvious though, that he is out of favour as under-fire manager Jose Mourinho struggles to find the right answers to raise Real’s game to what is expected from them.
Real are now third in the league standings - 16 points behind leaders and arch rivals Barcelona. In second spot are Atletico Madrid, who are 11 points behind the Catalan giants.
Real's chances of retaining the Liga title are virtually over unless, of course, something terrible happens to the still unbeaten Barca, which is pretty unlikely.
Real are very much alive as far as the Champions League and Copa del Rey are concerned, though.
Now back to poor Di Maria.
From 'guardian angel' to 'fallen angel'. That's how many can describe Di Maria's fall from grace at the Bernabeu.
He is no longer Mourinho's irreplaceable and tireless angel.
Di Maria was on the bench against Real Sociedad last weekend with Callejón taking his place. And it is not the first time this situation has come about.
He didn’t even get to warm up on the touchline.
Di Maria was once again on the bench in the Copa del Rey's 4-0 win over Celta Vigo on Wednesday.
He came in as a late substitute in this match and could not make an impact in such a short time presented to him.
In all, of the 30 matches played so far this season, he has not made the starting line-up in 12 of them.
And of the 18 matches where he was included in the starting 11, he only finished five of them on the pitch. This means, he was substituted 13 times.
The pattern is becoming a familiar one.
The 24-year-old is no more the same player he was in his first season at Real in 2010, in which he played 35 league games and was never left on the bench in a single one.
The magic seems to be missing. What is bugging him?
Perhaps, he may have that chance of regaining his terrific form if Mourinho gives him more playing time.
He can't do much if he keeps on coming in as a substitute.
Perhaps, he can also start looking for a new team for fresh adventures and in the process can help him to regain that deadly form.
Di Maria's current predicament is surely a worrying factor for Argentina national coach Alejandro Sabella.
Argentina need the pacy and skillful Di Maria at his best for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers as he has always formed a lethal combination with the likes of Lionel Messi and Sergio 'Kun' Aguero.
Real take on Osasuna away at Estadio El Sadar on Sunday (3am, Malaysian time) and sadly for his fans, don't expect Di Maria to start.
At the most, he will come in as a substitute.