Speaking in the press conference following Madrid’s unconvincing 3-0 victory at home to Celta Vigo, Ancelotti said: “I have not seen the gesture. I shook his hand and then I don’t know what he did. It is news to me if he responded to the crowd and it is a mistake if he has – but life goes on.”
Ancelotti may have had the temporary blindness that so many managers seem to suffer from but I did see the gesture and it could land Di Maria in hot water with the Real Madrid faithful. Di Maria, like many of his team mates, had been having a poor match. His touch was errant and he provided little support to Benzema and Ronaldo up front. The restless crowd inside the Bernabeu let Angel know exactly what they thought of his performance by booing and jeering his touches. Whistles and catcalls reached a climax when he was finally hooked to be replaced by the returning Gareth Bale in the 64th minute.
Di Maria smiled as he walked off but then jerked his groin in a gesture to the fans last seen at a Michael Jackson concert. He later tried to defuse the situation by claiming that he had simply been ‘adjusting’ himself as he walked off the pitch. He also stated that his family were in the stadium and so he would not have made a gesture with them looking on.
It is unlikely that the Madrid fans will be as forgiving as Ancelotti. With large sections of the Madrid faithful growing impatient at both his performances and attitude, and with Gareth Bale now ready to resume his season, it could yet be that Di Maria finds himself in pastures new this January. Arsenal are believed to be monitoring the situation closely and with Theo Walcott out for the season the Argentine winger could be a ready made replacement at The Emirates.