Tomás Roncero / Carmen Colino
Real Madrid have told Ángel Di María he will not be allowed to leave the club in the January transfer window. The club say the squad has been closed since the summer and that if he left the team would be weakened, especially if an attacking player was to pick up a long term injury between now and the end of the season. The Argentinian rejected a move away from the Bernabéu in the summer and the club have told him that he cannot leave now and leave the club in the lurch midway through the season, with all the major trophies still up for grabs. They have encouraged him to fight for his place in the team, despite how difficult it will be, given that Bale is in outstanding form, scoring eight goals and providing six assists in the last seven games.
Di María is frustrated with the situation he has had to endure in the last few weeks, in which he has seen his role in the side rapidly diminish. On Saturday night in Xátiva he played from the start but was abject, disinterested and never got into the game. He was substituted in the 56th minute and stormed off straight to the dressing room without even looking at Ancelotti.
Last summer Di María had two offers on the table that were good for him and tempting for Madrid. Arsenal and City made contact with him, but he said no. His plan was to stay at Madrid and fight for his place in the team. Even when the signing of Bale went through, he insisted on staying because he thought he was in prime condition and good enough to remain a starter. What's more, Ancelotti spoke to him and told him how important he was for him and for the team.
Ancelotti made his support of the player public, saying: "He is unique, he has fantastic dynamism, he works hard for the team, he helps the attackers and he defends. He's a very important player to us."
And in an interview with Fox Sports in September, the player said: "I have the confidence of the coach, I'm very happy in Madrid and so is my family."
Everything has changed now. The relationship between coach and player is distant. He doesn't trust in Florentino either. They are not on speaking terms because the Argentinian feels the club have failed him. That's why, when he scored the third goal for Madrid against Galatasaray on 27 November, he repeatedly pointed to the number on the back of his shirt to vindicate himself. It was his way of saying: "I'm still here and I've still got it."