Manchester United's record signing Angel Di Maria emulated Lionel Messi to lead Argentina to a 4-2 victory over Germany last night – and gain a small measure of revenge for their World Cup final defeat.
With the Barcelona legend unable to play due to injury, the £60m United star took his place in the Argentinian attack to once again show his class, providing three assists and scoring a marvellous goal.
New manager Gerardo Martino used Di Maria on the right flank rather than in the midfield and the United star needed only 20 minutes to set up the opener for Sergio Aguero with an amazing outside-of-the-boot cross.
Twenty minutes later, Di Maria provided Erik Lamela with Argentina's second with a deep cross, before his free-kick allowed Federico Fernandez to make it 3-0.
United's record signing completed his masterclass by burning off the German defence and beating Manuel Neuer in a one-on-one to make it 4-0. Germany gained some consolation with late goals from Andre Schürrle and Mario Götze.
"Angel di Maria showed why he is one of the five best players in the world," Argentina coach Gerardo Martino said after the game.
The Argentinian press have lavished praise on Di Maria while the Spanish reports keep questioning how Real Madrid let such a gem go to United.
"Di María was as good as Messi when he (the Barcelona star) plays on the right side," says Argentinian newspaper OLE.
Marca, the Madrid-based newspaper renowned for its close contacts with Real, also asks what would have happened had di Maria been fit to play in the World Cup final in July.