Angel di Maria
Angel Di Maria has so far failed to justify his hefty price tag at Manchester UnitedGetty Images

Barcelona assistant director of football Carles Rexach believes Real Madrid sold Angel Di Maria because he was "too ugly."

The Argentine international was signed by Manchester United for a British record transfer fee of £59.7m last summer after playing a crucial role in helping the Spanish capital club win the La Decima last season.

The arrival of James Rodriguez allowed Real to sanction the sale of Di Maria. Rexach claims the South American faced the same fate as the former Real manager Vicente del Bosque, because the La Liga giants are concerned about their brand and image of the club.

"Florentino Perez [Madrid's president] looks at the world market and wants a team of Galacticos for everyone to admire. Do you understand what I mean?" Rexach was quoted as saying by Goal.com.

"[Cristiano] Ronaldo is the flagship of the club. Perez is selling an international brand. Vicente del Bosque and Di Maria are too ugly for Real Madrid. They are different from Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez."

Di Maria has seen several ups and downs since he moved to Old Trafford, which the attacker claims to be normal. He has been struggling with form in recent times and was replaced at half time during United's 2-0 win over Sunderland.

Louis van Gaal has admitted the 27-year-old needs time to adjust to the Premier League. United captain Wayne Rooney is confident that Di Maria will get back to his best for the remainder of the season.

Meanwhile, United defender Chris Smalling has stressed the importance of a win over their next opponents Newcastle United. Van Gaal will take his men to St James' Park for the league game on Wednesday evening.

The 20-times English champions head into a crucial period, where they face Tottenham, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City in the next five league fixtures after the clash against the Magpies.

"We need to make sure on Wednesday we get that win because six points is crucial in these three or four days. We need some real confidence to go into what is going to be a crucial next couple of months," Smalling told United's official website.