Angel Di Maria has been on a hot streak of late for French champions Paris Saint-Germain with the Argentine winger scoring five goals and assisting four times in his last nine appearances.
Two of those assists came against his former club Manchester United in the first-leg of the Champions League round of 16 tie at Old Trafford. In a few days, the PSG winger will be once again up against his former employers when the English giants arrive in Paris.
The Argentine spent just one season at Manchester after joining the club from Real Madrid in 2014 for a then British record transfer fee of £59.7 million. Just a year later, he had swapped the red of United for the red, blue and white of PSG.
Handed the iconic No7 jersey upon his arrival at Manchester, much was expected from Di Maria after his excellent season for Real Madrid where he was named the man-of-the-match in the Champions League final win over arch-rivals Atletico Madrid.
He even started the season with some sparkling performances for United but it all went downhill quickly for him. A fractured relationship with manager Louis van Gaal ensued with Di Maria being made to play out of position several times. By the end of the season, the No. 7 had become a peripheral figure at the club with his place in the squad gazumped by Ashley Young.
United’s No7 jersey had become iconic with the likes of George Best, Bryan Robson, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo making it legendary. However, it is as if the jersey has become a cursed one ever since Ronaldo departed for Real Madrid.
Since then, Michael Owen, Antonio Valencia, Di Maria, Memphis Depay and now Alexis Sanchez have all laid their claims to the jersey but have buckled under the pressure of its stardom.
Valencia in fact gave up the jersey after being overwhelmed by the expectations it carries while Depay turned out to be a dud. The jury is still out on Sanchez but he too looks to be the latest victim of the ‘curse’.
With a No. 11 now at the back of his jersey at Paris, Di Maria meanwhile has well and truly lifted himself out that curse at least.