Di Maria admits he came close to joining extraterrestrial Messi at Barcelona

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AFP
The Argentina international forward, who has previously spent time with Real Madrid, was heavily linked with a return to Spain in the summer of 2017

Former Real Madrid winger Angel Di Maria has revealed that he almost joined Argentina team-mate Lionel Messi at Barcelona.

In-form Paris Saint-Germain attacker Di Maria was linked with a sensational move to La Liga giants Barca at the start of the season following the arrival of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

The 29-year-old found game time hard to come by, though he has since worked his way into Unai Emery's starting XI, scoring four goals in as many games, including a hat-trick against Sochaux in the Coupe de France last 16.

Reflecting on his failed transfer, Di Maria told TyC Sports: "I was really close to joining Barcelona but in the end, it wasn't to be.

"I started 2018 on a good foot, though, and I am really happy. I like assisting goals more than scoring them."

A controversial switch to Camp Nou would have seen Di Maria link up with compatriot Messi at club level.

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And Di Maria heaped praise on the five-time Ballon d'Or winner, despite winning the Champions League and La Liga alongside Cristiano Ronaldo at Madrid.

"Messi is always the best, he's the best every year. Cristiano Ronaldo's a special player, but Messi's from another planet," said Di Maria, who will come up against Ronaldo and Champions League holders Madrid in the last 16 next week.

"There are no words to describe Messi, he always surprises you." 

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