10:49 AM ET
Alex KirklandESPN FC
Angel Di Maria has said it is “much better” that Paris Saint-Germain signed Lionel Messi rather than Cristiano Ronaldo, adding that Messi is “from another planet” compared to Ronaldo and even PSG teammates Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
Di Maria — who joined PSG in 2015 after spells at Real Madrid, where he was a teammate of Ronaldo, and Manchester United — has played with Messi for Argentina since the winger, 33, made his debut in 2008.
“Messi is from another planet. You throw a stone at him and he would control it, he beats a man like it is nothing, he thinks quicker than anyone. I have never seen anything like it,” Di Maria told Argentinian TV channel TyC sports.
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“I’ve played with Cristiano, [Neymar], Mbappe, [Wayne] Rooney, [Robin] Van Persie, [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic, [Karim] Benzema, [Gareth] Bale and honestly I’ve never seen anything like him.
“The quality and quantity that PSG have now is unique. It doesn’t happen often at a club and the best players always want to be with the best. For sure Cristiano would like to be here, but they brought Messi and luckily, that’s much better.”
Messi joined PSG this week on a free transfer after his contract at Barcelona expired earlier this summer and was paraded before the PSG fans ahead of Saturday’s 4-2 Ligue 1 win against Strasbourg.
Financial problems meant the LaLiga club were unable to register a new deal for Messi under the league’s strict salary limits.
That means Sergio Aguero — a close friend of Messi, who joined Barcelona from Manchester City earlier this summer — misses out on the chance to play with his international teammate at club level.
“The worst thing is that [Aguero] has got injured again and will be out for a few weeks,” Di Maria said. “That is the saddest thing because he had made such an effort with his knee, trying to recover, and be at a good level on his return… Let’s hope he can get better as soon as possible to show how good he really is.”
Angel Di Maria said Lionel Messi is better than any other player. Photo by Aurelien Meunier – PSG/PSG via Getty Images
Paris Saint-Germain missed out on the Ligue 1 title last season, finishing one point behind champions Lille, and were knocked out in the Champions League semifinal by Manchester City.
A year earlier, they were beaten in the 2020 Champions League final by Bayern Munich, the closest they have come to lifting the trophy.
“We always have the obligation to win the Champions League and now with the arrival of Messi we have to do it, come what may,” Di Maria said. “It isn’t easy but we have a coaching staff who can make a great team and everyone knows what they have to do.
“[Coach Mauricio] Pochettino can make a great team. With so many stars, there’s the responsibility to do things well, but everyone has their role and that’s what’s important. I’d like to play in my position on the right or in the middle like at Real Madrid, but the coach decides.”