Di Maria can emulate Madrid stars Benzema and Modric at Juventus, claims Casillas

By Sports Desk June 28, 2022

Angel Di Maria would be a great signing for Juventus who can emulate former Real Madrid team-mates Karim Benzema and Luka Modric by playing at an elite level in his mid-30s.

That is the view of Iker Casillas, who played alongside Di Maria when Madrid won their 10th Champions League title in 2013-14.

Casillas feels the Argentine will be keen to feature regularly for the Bianconeri to cement his place at what could be his fourth World Cup later this year.

Di Maria is departing Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer after spending seven years in Ligue 1, and is widely expected to join Massimiliano Allegri's Juventus in the coming days.

The 34-year-old's agent revealed this week that only the "final details" of his contract in Turin remain outstanding, and Casillas believes his former team-mate will thrive in Italy.

"Di Maria is a great move," the 2010 World Cup winner told La Gazzetta dello Sport. 

"Angel with [Federico] Chiesa, [Dusan] Vlahovic and [Paul] Pogba... what a great team! And he will want to prepare well for the World Cup.

"He is a very cautious guy who has always taken great care of himself physically. He has never suffered serious injuries. I think he is in great shape. 

"Here in Europe, he has always played at a high level, in big clubs. Di Maria will give Juve a new step.

"There is a World Cup in November and it is clear that he is looking for a team where he can play regularly and prepare in the best possible way for the challenge in Qatar.

"Even at 34 years old he is a great player. Age counts only relatively now, careers have lengthened. 

"Without reaching the 44 years of my friend [Gianluigi] Buffon, there are other examples of players over 30 who are doing very well and playing to the fullest level. You just have to think about Benzema and Modric."

Di Maria won six trophies during a four-year spell with Madrid, which he ended in spectacular fashion with a man-of-the-match performance in Los Blancos' Champions League final win over Atletico Madrid in 2014.

Recalling Di Maria's performance as a central midfielder in that 2014 match, Casillas argued his versatility would be a great asset for Juve.

"Juventus bets on a player who knows how to do a lot of things in different areas of the pitch," he added. 

"When we won 'the Decima', [Carlo] Ancelotti changed his position in the middle of the season and he played very well.

"He can play both up front and in the centre of the field, he is an intelligent guy who knows football well. Angel has impressive shots and can decide games by himself."

Related items

  • 'We would like to extend his stay here' – Leicester boss Rodgers hopeful over Vardy deal 'We would like to extend his stay here' – Leicester boss Rodgers hopeful over Vardy deal

    Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers confirmed on Thursday that the club is working on a contract extension for 35-year-old Foxes icon Jamie Vardy.

    Vardy arrived at Leicester back in 2012 and has since racked up 164 goals in 386 appearances for the club. Only Arthur Chandler (273 goals), who played from 1923-35, and Arthur Rowley (251 goals from 1950-58) have scored more for Leicester.

    The former England striker has now registered seven consecutive Premier League seasons with at least 13 goals.

    Vardy is in the final year of his contract, but Foxes boss Rodgers is optimistic he will sign another deal.

    "[Vardy's] appetite is still there," he said. "We would like to extend his stay here and that's something the club and his representatives will look at.

    "Jamie thrives on balls into space behind the defence, and if there is no space, he thrives on low crosses into the box. It is as simple as that. If we can do that more, there will be opportunities for him and other players."

    Vardy, who missed nearly four months last season with hamstring and knee injuries, will turn 36 in January.

  • Kostic expresses gratitude to Eintracht ahead of Juventus move Kostic expresses gratitude to Eintracht ahead of Juventus move

    Filip Kostic has expressed his gratitude to Eintracht Frankfurt ahead of his move to Juventus.

    The Serbia winger is on the verge of completing his switch to Juve, ending a four-year spell with Eintracht.

    Kostic helped the Bundesliga club win the Europa League last season and has played more games (167) and started more matches (161) than any other player for the club since his arrival from Hamburg.

    The 29-year-old says Eintracht will always have a special place in his heart.

    "THANK YOU Eintracht Frankfurt for believing in me when no one else did!" he posted on Instagram.

    "I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to the club, all the wonderful people who work at the club, the team-mates, the coaches, the management, the fans and the whole city for making my stay at the club and in the city unforgettable.

    "Eintracht fans, thank you for supporting us every game. We bled together for the colours of the club, you in the stands and us on the field.

    "Together we managed to write club history by winning the Europa League. Thank you for all the love and support you have given me.

    "We wouldn't have made it without you. I will carry you in my heart forever."

     

  • O'Connor in at fly-half, Arnold and Foketi start for Australia against Pumas O'Connor in at fly-half, Arnold and Foketi start for Australia against Pumas

    James O'Connor will start at fly-half, while Rory Arnold and Lalakai Foketi have also been included in the Australia side to face Argentina in the Rugby Championship on Saturday.

    O'Connor gets the nod to don the number 10 shirt in the absence of Quade Cooper, who suffered an Achilles injury in the 41-26 win over the Pumas last weekend.

    Arnold has recovered from a calf injury and the lock will make his first Wallabies start of the year at Estadio Bicentenario.

    Centre Lalakai Foketi has been handed a maiden start by Dave Rennie, partnering Len Ikitau, and prop Taniela Tupo is back in the team in San Juan after Allan Alaalatoa returned home for personal reasons.

    Pone Fa'amausili is set to make his debut off the bench, while Irae Simone is also among the replacements.

    Australia head coach Rennie said: "After a tough, physical game last week it's great to be able to call on the experience of guys like James and Rory and also see the team's excitement for La and Irae who get to wear the Wallaby gold again on Saturday.

    "It's going to be a proud occasion for Pone and his family and it's a testament to him for the hard work and obstacles he's had to overcome to earn his first Test cap."

     

    Australia team: Tom Wright, Jordan Petaia, Len Ikitau, Lalakai Foketi, Marika Koroibete, James O'Connor, Nic White; James Slipper (captain), Folau Fainga’a, Taniela Tupou, Rory Arnold, Darcy Swain, Jed Holloway, Fraser McReight, Rob Valetini.

    Replacements: Lachlan Lonergan, Matt Gibbon, Pone Fa'amausili, Nick Frost, Pete Samu, Tate McDermott, Irae Simone, Reece Hodge.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.