Louis van Gaal entertained the media in Doha on Thursday as he responded to criticism from Angel Di Maria by showing his close bond with Memphis Depay, another of his former Manchester United players.

Netherlands coach Van Gaal signed Di Maria at United, but the Argentina international struggled to settle in the Premier League.

The winger, who hopes to face Van Gaal's Oranje at the World Cup on Friday, subsequently described the ex-United manager as "the worst coach of my career".

Van Gaal was offered a reminder of this comment at his pre-match news conference, but he was in jovial mood as he responded sat next to Depay.

"Angel Di Maria is simply a really good football player," Van Gaal said to an increasingly amused press room.

"At the time when he played for Manchester, he had a lot of personal issues, there was a break-in at his house. That also affected his fitness that year.

"The fact he would refer to me as the worst trainer, that is one of the very few players that ever said that. Usually it is the other way around.

"So, I think that is sad. I don't like that Angel said that on one occasion. It is a pity, but that's just the way it is.

"A head coach sometimes needs to take decisions that don't always end well. There's someone next to me here, Memphis Depay, and the same happened to him.

"Memphis also played for Manchester, and now we kiss each other, mouth-to-mouth. No, we're not going to do that now.

"That's just how things pan out in football. People are laughing now, but I didn't select Memphis for the [FA Cup] final – now that's not nice.

"Believe me, a head coach doesn't do this without a reason. It may well have been a wrong decision, but just look at how we are dealing with each other, working with each other now. Things are quite different.

"I'm not allowed to kiss him on the mouth, he doesn't want that, quite unfortunate, but it's fine by me."

Van Gaal was also asked about Bastian Schweinsteiger, who played for him both at United and at Bayern Munich.

Schweinsteiger's Germany eliminated Argentina from three consecutive World Cups between 2006 and 2014, and he has been in contact with Van Gaal.

"That is private. I'm sorry, it's private. I cannot say anything about that," Van Gaal said of their conversations. "I just think it's great that he's doing this.

"I ask him as well, because he's a reporter now and sees all these matches, and he was a player with brains. Football is being played with brains.

"I do learn things that my scouts have not said so far, which is positive. He is a fan of the Netherlands now that Germany is out."

Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni said his players were born to handle high-pressure World Cup contests after Lionel Messi led them to a 2-1 win over Australia in the last 16.

Messi scored his ninth World Cup goal – and his first in a knockout tie – as Argentina edged out Australia at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium on Saturday, with Julian Alvarez also getting on the scoresheet following a mistake from Mathew Ryan.

Argentina will now face the Netherlands for a semi-final place on Friday, a prospect which appeared unlikely when they began their campaign with a stunning defeat to Saudi Arabia 11 days ago.

Asked how the Albiceleste had managed to turn their tournament around, Scaloni said: "What I said before the Mexico match was that these guys were born to play these games.

"Argentina have played three games which were very intense, where being knocked out was a reality. But these players are capable. Sometimes the urgency and anxiety makes you feel different.

"Even if things happen like the Saudi Arabia game or the Australia goal today, we have to keep believing in our football. 

"There is no pressure in football, that's how I see it. Pressure is something else.

"If you've watched Argentina today, these are memories which will stay with you forever. You've seen these young players, and also Leo, playing beautifully."

The next hurdle for Argentina to overcome will be a heavyweight tussle with the nation they beat in both the 1978 World Cup final and the 2014 semi-finals.

While Scaloni acknowledges the Oranje's current crop may not be as easy on the eye as some of their predecessors, he expects a tough test against Louis van Gaal's men.

Asked about Van Gaal's qualities, Scaloni said: "I was a young player at Deportivo La Coruna when he was coaching at Barcelona. He's a great coach and many have to try to take a page from his book. It's a pleasure to face him at a World Cup.

"Today we saw the Netherlands match. They probably don't play as beautifully as some older Dutch teams, but they have very strong points that they will try to use.

"It will be a beautiful game between two historic national teams, and one will be knocked out, unfortunately."

Argentina are hopeful of receiving a fitness boost ahead of Friday, with Scaloni revealing Angel Di Maria – who was an unused substitute on Saturday after suffering a thigh injury – could return.

"I didn't think we were going to help anyone by bringing him on today," he said of Di Maria. "We hope that in the next few days he keeps evolving and he can make it for the next match."

Lionel Messi was named in the Argentina line-up for the 1,000th match of his career on Saturday, but Angel Di Maria only made the bench.

La Albiceleste were facing Australia in the last 16 of the World Cup, with captain Messi reaching the 1,000 mark for games with club and country.

Di Maria, Argentina's big injury doubt, could not join his team-mate in the line-up, however.

The Juventus winger was substituted in the second half of the Group C win over Poland, and head coach Lionel Scaloni was still unsure of his status in Friday's pre-match news conference.

With Di Maria named among the Argentina substitutes, Sevilla's Papu Gomez came into the XI in the only change, perhaps indicating an alteration to the system or to Messi's role.

Graham Arnold also made a single change to his Australia side following their superb win against Denmark, replacing Craig Goodwin with Keanu Baccus.

Lionel Scaloni has not yet had time to assess Angel Di Maria's fitness as Argentina prepare to take on Australia in the last 16 of the World Cup.

Di Maria was substituted in the second half of Argentina's vital Group C victory over Poland on Wednesday.

Having played in the late match, with opponents Australia through earlier in the day, La Albiceleste have little time to recover ahead of Saturday's match.

Scaloni has described the situation as "absurd", with the Socceroos enjoying precious additional hours of rest despite finishing second in their pool.

Now, as Argentina prepare to return to training late on Friday, Scaloni's focus is on seeing how key man Di Maria is faring.

When a report of the winger's injury was relayed to the coach in his news conference, he replied: "You know more than I do.

"I didn't know Di Maria had a contracture. He felt some discomfort, but contracture? That's new. You have more information than I do.

"Let's wait for today and for tomorrow."

Thursday had been spent resting – described by Rodrigo De Paul as "the first day I could really enjoy being here" – but there is no complacency around the upcoming match.

"Whether [Australia] are inferior or not, we need to see that. I don't fully agree," Scaloni said.

"They are a good team, and this is football. It's 11 versus 11, and this is the reality. We need to leave aside the 'favourites' tag and play the game. Our idea is to play like in the last games."

He added: "As we've been saying all along, we will break our backs on the pitch in this World Cup. We will be there to compete.

"We know how difficult this World Cup is. This is football, we've seen this yesterday and in previous games. For me, these are not surprises.

"When we think about big national teams, we think they should always be in the next phase, but sometimes that does not occur. Things get turned around. That's what happens in football."

As well as a repeat performance from the Poland game, Scaloni hopes to see the atmosphere replicated, too.

"I hope tomorrow can be similar to the match with Poland, because it felt like we were playing back in Argentina," the coach said.

Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria played starring roles as Argentina eased to a 5-0 win over the United Arab Emirates in their final outing ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

Lionel Scaloni's men had no trouble in extending their unbeaten run to 36 matches heading into the tournament thanks to a commanding victory in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

Di Maria scored twice and assisted one for Messi, who had earlier played in Julian Alvarez for the opener, as Argentina raced into a four-goal half-time lead.

Substitute Joaquin Correa scored the only goal of a disrupted second half as the reigning South American champions signed off for Qatar in style.

Messi was played clean through on goal but unselfishly squared for Alvarez to squeeze past Khalid Eisa as Argentina made their early dominance count with 17 minutes played.

Di Maria opened his account with a crisp volley that went in off the far post and then showed brilliant footwork to get away from his man, round the goalkeeper and add his second.

The UAE, who finished behind Iran and South Korea in qualifying to miss out on a place in Qatar, were further behind before half-time when Messi fired past Eisa after being played in by Di Maria.

Despite making four changes at the break, with Di Maria making way, Argentina continued to dominate and Correa slotted home a fifth on the hour despite being under pressure.

Caio Canedo went closest to pulling one back for the UAE with a shot that was cleared off the line late on, but La Albiceleste saw out a fifth clean sheet in a row.

Dusan Vlahovic will sit out Juventus' Serie A game against Lazio on Sunday with the Serbia striker struggling for fitness ahead of the World Cup, head coach Massimiliano Allegri said.

The 22-year-old has not featured for Juventus since they suffered a 4-3 Champions League defeat to Benfica last month, missing their last four games after sustaining a groin injury.

Vlahovic – who is Juventus' top scorer this season with seven goals – has been named in Serbia's 26-man squad for the upcoming tournament in Qatar but is yet to fully recover.

Despite Vlahovic participating in recent training sessions, Allegri is unwilling to risk him against Lazio, though he remains adamant the striker is not hesitant about returning before the World Cup.

"Vlahovic, no. He doesn't feel like it, he's not well, he'll stay out. [Federico] Chiesa is available tomorrow," Allegri said at Saturday's pre-match press conference.

"You have to be fatalistic. In general, maybe at the first training session with the national team, a player stops and misses the World Cup. 

"Vlahovic was part of training both yesterday and today, it is normal for a player to feel he has to help the team. He's not in optimal physical condition right now."

However, Juventus will be able to call upon Angel Di Maria against Maurizio Sarri's men, with the Argentina international having appeared as a substitute in each of the Bianconeri's last two games after recovering from a thigh problem.

Allegri will make a late decision on whether to start Di Maria ahead of Sunday's match and will not be swayed by his imminent appearance at a fourth World Cup.

"It is not a question of the World Cup. The other times he played half an hour and did well," Allegri said.

"I have to decide whether to let him play for a while or to start him from the beginning. It is clear that when he enters, he raises the level of the team. Tomorrow is about the team. 

"In the last match, it will be difficult. It is like the first of the championship, since then there will be a long break. It is a dangerous match already, because of the quality of Lazio."

Massimiliano Allegri is set to make a number of late calls on his Juventus XI for Sunday's Derby d'Italia, with Dusan Vlahovic still not fully fit.

Vlahovic has not featured for the Bianconeri since their costly Champions League defeat to Benfica in the middle of last week.

And the Serbia striker may not return in time to take on Inter this weekend, as Allegri revealed an ongoing groin issue at his pre-match news conference on Saturday.

The coach could at least offer a more positive update on Angel Di Maria and Bremer, who are both back in the fold, although he would not confirm the role of either player at Allianz Stadium.

"[Di Maria and Bremer] are recovered – the only doubt is Vlahovic, because he is not well and tomorrow I have to evaluate," Allegri said.

"On Bremer and Di Maria, I have to decide whether to let both play or just one, but I have to evaluate."

Pressed further on Vlahovic, he replied: "We don't know if he's okay, because he's missed sessions.

"If he is well and tells me he is available, he will be on the bench; otherwise, it is useless to bring a player who cannot play."

Allegri added he would also "evaluate and decide" whether Di Maria and Bremer may be able to start on Sunday.

"The important thing is to have everyone available," he said.

Should they line up on the bench, they would likely join Federico Chiesa, whose successful return to action following an ACL tear has given his coach "a pleasant surprise".

"Now, I just have to increase his minutes," Allegri said. "Tomorrow he will definitely be part of the game."

As Inter coach Simone Inzaghi had earlier in the day, Allegri played down the importance of this match in the context of the season.

But Allegri acknowledged the need for Juve to get a result in this fixture, having taken only a single point against the Nerazzurri last term.

"It would be important [to move above Inter], but the season is long," he said. "Last year we never beat them, and we will have to do everything we can to reverse the trend."

Juventus winger Angel Di Maria wants to finish his playing career where it started, back in Argentina with Rosario Central.

Di Maria, 34, joined Rosario as a four-year-old, spending the next 15 years with the club before a starring performance in the Under-20 World Cup saw Benfica come knocking.

His move to Benfica was the beginning of a remarkable European career, where he proceeded to play for Real Madrid, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain before landing in Italy with Juventus.

Despite all his success in Europe, Di Maria spoke about his desire to return to his roots in an interview with former player Ezequiel Lavezzi, who represented Argentina on the international stage 51 times between 2007 and 2016.

"I'd like to go back to Rosario," he said. "I know it's difficult... but it's as I always say – the dream of all those in Argentina is to come and play in Europe, mine is to return one day to wear the Rosario Central shirt. 

"It's reality, I've always said it. If I get the chance, I'd love to."

Rosario currently sit 19th in the 28-team top division in Argentina, and with little spending power, it would require a massive pay cut to become a reality.

Angel Di Maria is out of action for the next 20 days but is expected to be fit for the World Cup, Juventus have announced.

The 34-year-old left the field in tears during Juventus' shock Champions League defeat to Maccabi Haifa on Tuesday, sparking fears about his availability for Argentina's World Cup campaign.

La Albiceleste are already sweating on the fitness of Roma's Paulo Dybala, out for four to six weeks with a quadriceps injury, while Lionel Messi has missed Paris Saint-Germain's past two matches.

Juventus shared a positive update on Di Maria's situation on Thursday, however, outlining the expectation that he will be fit for Argentina's campaign in Qatar.

"The diagnostic tests that Di Maria underwent this morning at the J| Medical showed a low-grade lesion of the femoral biceps of the right thigh," a statement read.

"It will take about 20 days for its complete recovery."

Di Maria will miss Juventus' next two Serie A fixtures, against Torino and Lecce, as well as the crucial Champions League clash against Benfica in Lisbon, where Massimiliano Allegri's side need a victory to keep their hopes of reaching the knockout stages alive.

The 20-day timeframe provided by Juventus runs until November 2, the date of their final Champions League group-stage clash against Paris Saint-Germain, but Di Maria could return for the Serie A showdown with Inter on November 6.

Argentina begin their World Cup campaign on November 22 against Saudi Arabia, before then facing Mexico and Argentina in Group C.

Dusan Vlahovic said he was "honoured" to play alongside Angel Di Maria after the Argentina international claimed three assists in Juventus' Champions League win over Maccabi Haifa.

Adrien Rabiot scored a brace either side of Vlahovic's cool second-half finish as Juventus triumphed 3-1 to boost their hopes of progressing from Group H on Wednesday, but Di Maria was the star of the show.

At 34 years and 233 days old, Di Maria became the oldest player to record a hat-trick of assists in the Champions League since data began in 2003-04, as well as the first player to do so for an Italian club.

Since Di Maria made his first Champions League appearance in the 2007-08 season, meanwhile, only Lionel Messi can match his tally of 35 assists in the competition.

Asked about Di Maria's influence by Sky Sports, Vlahovic said: "I don't know what to say. I am honoured to have the opportunity to play with him, to see him every day, to learn from him. I would like to make the most of my moments with him on the pitch."

Vlahovic was pleased to see Juventus end a three-match losing streak in the Champions League, but saw room for improvement in his own performance.

"I could do better and do more," he added. "I had to make better use of the assists of my team-mates, but we won. We have to improve and work with our heads down in silence.

"Attackers live on goals. I am always focused on the team, then the goals come as a consequence. 

"If I think I have to do something, I just put weight on myself and I don't do things with clarity. I have to be more calm and focused."

Meanwhile, under-pressure Bianconeri coach Massimiliano Allegri praised Di Maria's display, but was concerned by his team's lack of control in the final 15 minutes.

"Di Maria is good, the important thing is to get the ball to him, the first and second assists were of excellent craftsmanship," he said in his post-match news conference.

"The boys immediately realised that you cannot not play for a quarter of an hour. The games must be closed earlier, this does not mean to stop playing, but to play less and be more bad.

"We were too light, then the games are about psychology, and we risked 2-2. This doesn't have to happen.

"The defensive phase is a mental issue. Everything seemed easy, we gave up as a team. We didn't foul [ahead of] their goal, that's not good. Goal difference will also be important."

Looking ahead to next week's return fixture in Israel, two-goal hero Rabiot said: "We will have to be concentrated, but with this attitude, I am convinced that we will win. We must continue like this.

"I'm happy to have scored, but it's more important to win, and tonight we did it well. We played well - a little less in the second half - but we're on the right path."

Adrien Rabiot's brace helped Juventus to a much-needed 3-1 win over Maccabi Haifa in the Champions League on Wednesday, boosting their hopes of progressing from Group H.

The Bianconeri approached the match requiring a victory after successive European losses against Paris Saint-Germain and Benfica, and they hit the front through Rabiot's powerful first-half finish.

Angel Di Maria starred with a hat-trick of assists, including a sublime pass to allow Dusan Vlahovic to double Juventus' lead shortly after the break.

Juventus came under pressure after Dean David raced through to reduce the arrears, but Rabiot's late header made the points safe and eased the pressure on Massimiliano Allegri.

Vlahovic twice went close as Juventus started strongly, seeing a well-placed strike turned away by Matt Cohen before dragging a poor effort wide from Filip Kostic's cut-back.

Maccabi posed a threat on the break throughout the first half, leading to jeers from a nervous home crowd, but the Bianconeri made the breakthrough when Rabiot darted onto Di Maria's pass to blast into the roof of the net 10 minutes before the break.

Di Maria was again involved when Juventus extended their lead five minutes after half-time, picking out Vlahovic with a sublime outside-of-the-foot pass before the Serb slotted into the bottom-right corner.

Omer Atzili struck the foot of the post as Maccabi refused to go down without a fight, before Vlahovic was denied a double by the offside flag after converting from yet another Di Maria pass.

David ensured a tense finish when he rounded Wojciech Szczesny to give Maccabi hope with 15 minutes remaining, but Rabiot had the final say, securing Juventus' win by nodding Di Maria's corner home eight minutes later.

What does it mean? Juventus stay alive in Group H

Juventus approached Wednesday's match having lost three successive Champions League games. Had the Bianconeri fallen to a fourth consecutive defeat for the first time in the competition's history, their hopes of progression – and Allegri himself – may not have recovered.

But the Bianconeri – led by their outstanding midfield duo Rabiot and Di Maria – shook off any first-half nerves to move within four points of PSG and Benfica.

Di Maria equals Messi with creative masterclass

Di Maria was limited to one substitute appearance in Juventus' first two European matches of the campaign after struggling with an injury, and the Bianconeri may be left to rue his early absence if they fail to escape Group H.

Since the start of the 2007-08 campaign – when Di Maria made his first Champions League appearance, no player has bettered his tally of 35 assists in the competition.

Only his legendary compatriot Lionel Messi has teed up as many Champions League goals during that spell.

Rabiot ends long wait

Rabiot looked every inch the natural goalscorer as his brace led Juventus to a vital win, but the France international had endured a long goal drought prior to Wednesday's double.

The 27-year-old's first-half effort ended his 50-game run without a goal in all competitions, and represented his first strike since he found the net against Bologna in May 2021.

What's next?

Juventus will face a huge test of their Serie A credentials when they travel to Champions Milan on Saturday, while Maccabi Haifa go to Maccabi Bnei Raina on the same day.

Juventus may soon be forced to "change the management" if Massimiliano Allegri cannot inspire a rapid improvement in their fortunes, according to former Bianconeri midfielder Mohamed Sissoko.

The Italian giants have endured a tough start to the season, winning only two of their first seven games in Serie A and losing their opening two Champions League group-stage matches for the first time.

And Sissoko – a Juventus player between 2007 and 2011 – feels the club may have to dismiss Allegri if they cannot beat Bologna at home on Sunday in their first match after the international break.

"There's a big problem there. It's true, the start was very bad," Sissoko told Stats Perform.

"We will see what happens after the international break because I think it's going to be a big moment if the team don't win."

Allegri is in his second stint with the club having presided over a hugely successful tenure between 2014 and 2019, winning five straight Scudetti and reaching two Champions League finals.

However, his second reign has been underwhelming. A fourth-place finish last season followed by a slow start this term has led to many fans calling for the Italian coach to be sacked.

And Sissoko believes this feeling around the club is not beneficial for the players, saying: "When you work in this atmosphere it is not easy for players.

"If the result don't come, I think it's better to change, to have fresh management, new people and new things."

Juventus fans will be hoping star signings Angel Di Maria and Paul Pogba can help Juventus climb the table.

Di Maria, signed from PSG in pre-season, has scored once in his first four league games while Pogba is yet to play because of a torn meniscus.

But Sissoko still believes the two signings will be a key part of Juventus' campaign.

"The team need to work a lot – it's a team performance, but if you put more quality in this team, like Pogba, like Di Maria, 100 per cent it's not the same team," he added.

Pogba has also had to contend with off-field controversy in recent months.

His brother, Mathias, has been charged in connection with an alleged armed extortion attempt against the World Cup winner.

Asked how this might affect Pogba’s performances for Juventus when he returns from injury, Sissoko said: "To be honest, it's not easy.

"I think Pogba has the good mentality to support all these things. I think he's going to fix all these things with him and his family to come back to play football and to give a lot of things to the supporters and for himself also."

Newcastle United are reportedly prepared to launch a third bid for Leicester City midfielder James Maddison in the January window.

Maddison, 24, has had a strong start to the season despite Leicester sitting bottom of the table through seven games, with the midfielder registering three goals and an assist.

Newcastle reportedly placed bids of £40million and £45m in the last window – which prompted manager Brendan Rodgers to say "that might just cover three-quarters of his left leg" – but January will mark 18 months remaining on his contract, with a voluntary extension looking extremely unlikely.

 

TOP STORY – MADDISON OPEN TO NEWCASTLE UNITED MOVE

Maddison is said to be more open to the idea of leaving Leicester after failing to break back into the England setup for the World Cup, with his only international cap coming as a substitute during a win against Montenegro in 2020.

With Newcastle players Nick Pope and Kieran Trippier both being involved with the Three Lions, it is viewed as a more favourable situation to capture the attention of Gareth Southgate.

The report from The Times indicates Leicester do have the option to extend Maddison's contract by one extra season, which could give them the freedom to see out the remainder of the campaign.

However, if Newcastle are willing to move into the £60m range, that kind of spending power could fund some significant moves to address the Foxes' problems, and there is no guarantee his value will remain this high if they delay.

 

ROUND-UP

– According to Spanish publication Beteve, Lionel Messi will refuse any contract extension and will leave Paris Saint-Germain at the end of this season.

– Kicker is reporting Tottenham's Harry Kane remains Bayern Munich's top target, and with only one more season left on his deal after this campaign, Tottenham could be forced to cash-in if he indicates he is ready to leave.

– Juventus will not renew the contracts of Angel Di Maria, Juan Cuadrado and Adrien Rabiot in order to reduce their wage bill, per La Gazzetta dello Sport.

– Calciomercato is reporting Roma will join Bayern Munich and Manchester United with interest in €30m Ajax centre-back Jurrien Timber.

– According to Fabrizio Romano, Newcastle United are monitoring highly regarded Vasco da Gama 18-year-old Andrey Santos.

Argentina were never in any danger during their 3-0 friendly win against Jamaica on Tuesday, played at a neutral site in the United States' Red Bull Arena.

Alvarez opened the scoring in the 13th minute thanks to some terrific work from Lautaro Martinez, who was able to snake his way into the box, beating multiple defenders to get to the touchline and drag one back along the edge of the six-yard box for a simple tap-in.

Argentina continued to create half-chances throughout the remainder of the first half, and it was more of the same to begin the second 45, with Martinez going close after a slick one-touch pass from Alexis Mac Allister gave him some space inside the box, but he pushed his shot wide of the far-post.

Lionel Messi was subbed on in the 56th minute, and just 10 minutes later he had his first chance after a one-two on the edge of the area allowed him to break into the left-hand side of the box, but his shot from a sharp angle was easily thwarted at the near post.

But fans in attendance would get what they came for in the 87th minute, when Messi picked up a deflected pass just outside the penalty area and fired his left-foot shot hard and low across his body into the bottom-right corner.

Just two minutes later Argentina were awarded a free kick in the same spot, and Messi again converted, this time around the wall into the bottom-left corner.

What does it mean? Argentina now two games away from history

With this result, Argentina are now unbeaten in their past 35 games dating back to their loss in the 2019 Copa America semi-final against Brazil. 

Italy holds the record at 37 games without a loss – which they set just last year. Argentina's next two games will be in the World Cup against Saudi Arabia and Mexico, and if they make it through unscathed, they will play Poland for the new record.

Messi the super sub

Despite only playing 35 minutes, Messi led all players with five shots, four shots on target and three successful dribbles. Only Alvarez (three) created more chances than Messi's two, and he scored two goals for his second consecutive international fixture after also netting a double against Honduras this past weekend.

Reid struggles with Argentinian physicality

Bobby Reid had a difficult outing down the left-hand side, being credited with only two duels won from 11 tries – the lowest percentage on the pitch. He also had a passing accuracy of 77 per cent, which was one of the lowest marks from either side, while attempting no shots and creating no chances.

What's next? 

Argentina will take their unbeaten streak into the World Cup, where they will play Saudi Arabia first up. Jamaica do not have any fixtures scheduled until March's CONCACAF Nations League.

Angel Di Maria accepted responsibility for Juventus' shock 1-0 loss to Monza after he was sent off in the first half on Sunday.

The Argentina international saw red five minutes before half-time for an elbow into the chest of Armando Izzo as the two jostled for possession in midfield.

The 10-man Bianconeri were condemned to defeat by a 74th-minute goal from Monza substitute Christian Gytkjaer to further ramp up the pressure on head coach Massimiliano Allegri.

However, the coach was not to blame, according to Di Maria, who said the result was "all my fault".

In an Instagram post, the former Paris Saint-Germain winger said: "I want to apologise to everyone for this inappropriate reaction I had on the pitch.

"Leaving the team with one down at such a difficult time has cost us the game.

"Losing is all my fault. I am so sorry. I'm a professional but also a human being who makes mistakes and knows how to admit them."

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