Gianluigi Buffon has claimed that Angel Di Maria would be “like Diego Maradona” in Serie A if the Argentine forward were to move to Italy as a free agent.
A 34-year-old South American forward finds himself without a club after reaching the end of his contract at Paris Saint-Germain.
Buffon spent one season working with Di Maria in France in 2018-19 and believes the former Real Madrid and Manchester United winger has the ability to become another talismanic presence in the Italian top-flight – much like a compatriot who once starred for Napoli.
Would Di Maria be a star in Serie A?
Legendary goalkeeper Buffon told Gazzetta dello Sport: “Right now, Di Maria in Serie A, is like Maradona. Am I clear?
“Footballers must be valued considering the context where they play. Today Serie A is technically poorer and Angel has so much technique.
“He is decisive in front of goal, he dribbles past his opponents so easily. He is good at delivering assists and runs up and down on the pitch. He can play in different roles. In a few words: he is a football player.”
Is Di Maria still at his best?
While plenty of interest has been shown in Di Maria, there is no escaping the fact that he is past his peak.
Buffon does not consider that to be an issue for any suitors, with the 2006 World Cup winner still going strong with Parma well beyond his 40th birthday.
“I am 44, but I still play,” Buffon added. “Age doesn’t matter. Motivation and passion are much more important and the same goes for determination. If Di Maria joins Juventus, it means that he’s ready to do so.
“We are talking of an exemplary professional, a nice guy, one who never gives up and fights during games and training sessions. I repeat, for today’s Serie A, he’d be like Maradona.
“At PSG, I played with Neymar, a young Kylian Mbappe, Marco Verratti, but Di Maria was not inferior to any of them.
“When he won the Decima at Madrid in 2014, he was playing with Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos. He was always a step back but knew how to play as a winger, attacking midfielder and even mezzala.
“Whoever signs him, and I hope it’s Juve, makes a deal. We are talking about a champion and football needs champions.”