By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens
Angel Di Maria has revealed how Laurent Blanc convinced him to leave Manchester United for Paris Saint-Germain.
The Argentina international decided to exit Old Trafford last summer when the PSG manager contacted him to reveal how keen he was to bring him to France.
Di Maria, who had been close to joining the French champions 12 months earlier but instead moved to Old Trafford for a British-record £59.1million, had a disappointing season in English football.
He was strongly linked with a move to PSG before joining for an initial £45million shortly last July.
Speaking to BeIN sports, Di Maria revealed the influence of Blanc in pushing through the deal.
“The first time we spoke, it was before I signed for PSG,” explained Di Maria. “This made me very happy. It happened the same way when [Jose] Mourinho made me come to Real Madrid.
“They called me before and I spoke with them. Blanc called me when he was in the United States and I was still on holiday.
“He said he was very happy to recruit me, that he had wanted me for several seasons. Obviously, this gave me an added incentive to sign for PSG.”
While Di Maria managed just four goals from 32 appearances for United, he has already netted seven times in his 19 appearances for PSG as well as supplying nine assists.
PSG have opened up a remarkable 17-point lead in the French league after winning 15 of their 18 matches to date, and drawing the other three.
Blanc’s team have been drawn against struggling Chelsea in the last-16 of the Champions League.