How Di Maria defied the Bernabeu boo boys and became the jewel in Real's crown

In hindsight, the turnaround was incredible. It was January 6, 2014, and with 64 minutes gone, Real Madrid were struggling to break down Celta Vigo. The game was in the balance at 0-0; Carlo Ancelotti decided to make a substitution. The board went up: Gareth Bale on, Angel Di Maria off. This was no big surprise – Di Maria was stuck in an indifferent run of form and had completed 90 minutes only once in Madrid’s previous 10 games. What happened next, however, was.

As the Argentine jogged off the pitch, large sections of the Bernabeu crowd rose to their feet. Di Maria was booed off. In response, he did what any self-respecting gangster rapper or Michael Jackson impersonator would do – he grabbed his crotch. Whether intended as a targeted, defiant gesture towards a disgruntled crowd or he just had an itch, the momentary ball tampering caused big controversy.

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