Di Maria: I didn't want to leave Real Madrid

In an open letter to the Spanish club's fans, the new Manchester United man slams the "lies" told about the financial demands he made during failed talks over a contract extension
New Manchester United signing Angel Di Maria has confessed that he did not want to leave Real Madrid and blames his departure on the Spanish club's board.

The Argentina international completed a British-record £59.7 million transfer to Old Trafford on Thursday and immediately expressed his joy at joining "one of the biggest clubs in the world", professing that the Red Devils were the only team for whom he would leave the Santiago Bernabeu.

After securing his move, Di Maria wrote an open letter to Madrid fans, noting that he was bitterly upset to have been made out to have been holding the club to ransom over his demands for a new contract.

"My cycle at Real Madrid has come to an end," the winger wrote. "It's impossible to capture everything I've experienced here in a few lines but I hope this letter communicates what I feel at the moment.

"I had the honour to wear this shirt for four years and I feel nothing but pride for what I went through and achieved with my team-mates.

"Unfortunately, I have to go but I want to make clear that this was never my desire. Like anyone who works, I've always wanted to progress.

"After winning La Decima I went to the World Cup with the hope of receiving a gesture from the board, which never arrived. Many things and many lies were told. Someone may not like me. The only thing I asked for was something fair.

"There are many things that I value and many of them have nothing to do with my salary. I hope to find them at Manchester United, one of the biggest clubs in the world."

However, Di Maria was keen to pay tribute to his former colleagues and issued an apology to the Madrid fans for his behaviour during a sometime strained relationship with the crowd at the Bernabeu.

"I've been lucky to play in a team with fantastic players, who have been even better friends," he continued. "I think that was the key to La Decima.

"I want to apologise for my mistakes, on and off the pitch. It was never my intention to hurt anyone. I sweated in every game I played in the [Madrid] shirt as if it were the last."

Di Maria joined Madrid from Benfica and helped the club win a Primera Division title and two Copas del Rey before playing a key role in last season's Champions League success.