Carlo Ancelotti appeared in front of the press to announce that Ángel di María was leaving and Sami Khedira was staying. No surprises there. Di María can be turned into a very large cheque, Khedira cannot. Khedira is a good player, a coal stoker in midfield, but Di María is something more because he is all-action and able to unbalance defences. Madrid says that Di María left because he wanted to. But he wanted to leave because Real signed Gareth Bale to occupy his position and, after he had adapted to another area of the pitch with customary application and great success, James Rodríguez was brought to the club. And he was offered a contract extension with a salary that treated him like the number 11 in the squad and he felt that he was more than that.
Di María held a strategic value for Madrid that requires no repetition. He is an extraordinary player, the star of the Champions League final, and if he wanted to leave it is because this Real Madrid was conceived from the neon lights and not footballing logic. It is a Madrid with an irrational agenda, who possess enough money to unite Cristiano Ronaldo and Bale and to give Karim Benzema a pay rise. But there is no money to retain the services of Di María, who doesn't sell shirts.
During last season opinion polls painted José Mourinho as "anti-Spanish," as a consequence of which Madrid bought Asier Illarramendi and Isco for almost 70 million euros. After the Spanish national team made an exhibition of themselves in Brazil, their names are not so popular on the back of shirts, so in their place came Toni Kroos and James, the stars of the World Cup. But as money is not infinite Di María had to be sold. And Ancelotti has to fit them in. He raises his eyebrow, says this and then the opposite, shrugs his shoulders and if Atlético should win, so be it. Now Córdoba is coming to town. There is no Di María, and that's how to fit them in. Ancelotti has good players and he got by last season.