Angel Di Maria
Di Maria's position at Real Madrid backed by Carlo Ancelotti.Reuters

It may seem like a long time ago now but Mesut Ozil's £42m move to Arsenal that prompted unadulterated joy amongst Arsenal fans and horror from their Real Madrid counterparts was one of the biggest stories of 2013.

While they celebrated in north London, one pertinent question echoed around the Bernabeu: why had one of the biggest clubs in world football decided to cash in on the player who was widely recognised as the best no. 10 in Europe?

Real's record breaking move for Gareth Bale, not to mention the arrivals of Isco, Asier Illarramendi and the re-signing of Daniel Carvajal, created the logical idea that the club simply had to restore some financial parity after an outlay of £143m on transfer fees last summer.

But back in October Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti scoffed at the idea that Ozil's exit was driven by money. "That was a football decision. For the balance of the team I preferred to have Di Maria. He has less quality than Ozil but I wanted him for his character and his help for the team," he said.

Meanwhile, the German international was inspiring the Gunners to a breathless start to the season, contributing three goals and 12 assists in all competitions during the time up until Ancelotti's comments.

While Di Maria enjoyed an admirable start to the campaign it appeared it was just a matter of time before he was permanently displaced by Gareth Bale, whose initial struggles with injury in Madrid seemingly gave the Argentine a temporary pardon before he was to be dropped completely.

But that hasn't happened yet. Evidence of his importance to Ancelotti's plans can be found in his scintillating first half performance in Sunday's enthralling El Clásico. The Argentine was the inspiration behind Benzema's first half double and teed up the Frenchman for two further opportunities that were spurned.

His tireless running and tenacious determination to press the opposition made him the stand-out player in the first 45 minutes of a fixture awash with world-class talent, a remarkable feat considering he looked as if he was on the verge of fainting at one point.

Has Ancelotti been vindicated in his decision to offload Ozil favour of the industrious Di Maria? Whether Real Madrid reclaim the La Liga crown and address their shortcomings in the Champions League will ultimately answer that question.

But seven months on, the Italian's backing of the Argentine is holding firm. The decision to sell Ozil was regarded as an aberration by Real Madrid fans and the Spanish press alike; their concerns illustrated by chants of their former player's name echoing around the Bernabeu at Gareth Bale's unveiling.

But Di Maria, whose diligence and invention have contributed to Real's success this term, has always had one man firmly in his corner. Marca suggests his performance against Barcelona merely reinforced Ancelotti's high regard for the midfielder. The coach has made retaining him one his priories this summer and continually gives him the star treatment, according to the Spanish daily.

Di Maria has not always been held in such high regard by the powers-that-be at the Bernabeu who have seen him as a dispensable option, but Ancelotti's faith in the former Benfica star ensures that his future in the Spanish capital is under no threat.

Ozil's struggles at Arsenal are an indication of the differing tactical and physical demands between the Premier League and La Liga, rather than the ridiculous notion that the German was a poor signing. But the cries of those condemning the logic of choosing Ozil over Di Maria have since grown very faint.