‘Di Maria still a great player’ – Saviola backs PSG star to shake off slump

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The 28-year-old’s former team-mate insists his talent remains despite his struggles this season, while confessing Argentina have lost too many finals of late.

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Javier Saviola has backed Angel Di Maria to shake off his current patch of bad form and get back to his best for Paris Saint-Germain and Argentina, calling the midfielder a “great player”.

Di Maria has struggled for PSG this season, scoring just once in 16 appearances, and has been linked with a January move to Inter.

His struggles in front of goal reflect a wider malaise at Parc des Princes, where PSG have failed to replicate their recent dominance over Ligue 1 under Unai Emery and lie third after 12 games.

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However, Saviola believes his former team-mate at club and international level has the enduring talent to turn around his and PSG’s fortunes.

“I was with Angel in Benfica. I know his potential, he is a great player,” Saviola told Omnisport. “Maybe he is not going through his best moment, but this is fine, it is something that each player lives at some point.

“In terms of football, I have seen him doing very good things. His speed and his way of facing the opponent, he always goes forward.

“Hopefully he can come back to his level. And hopefully he can also demonstrate in the national team everything that he is.”

Di Maria featured for Argentina as they responded to a 3-0 thrashing at the hands of Brazil to beat Colombia by the same scoreline and breathe new life into their bid to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

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Edgardo Bauza’s side sit in the play-off berth in CONMEBOL qualification, and Saviola hopes they can produce a strong finish after a difficult campaign.

“Argentina is going through a difficult period, the players are full of doubts, the country too,” Saviola said. “Unfortunately, we have lost some finals recently. That has been detrimental for people’s confidence on the national team.

“There is a big discomfort because the people expect more.

“Myself, having been team-mate of many of the current players in the past, I know how complicated this moment is for the players, but there are still some games in order to qualify for the World Cup, which is the most important thing.

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“Let’s hope. I don’t see a World Cup without Argentina. I believe that they will make it.

“And the coach, Bauza, has just started. It is a new chapter, the results haven’t been as expected, but he deserves room for improvement.”

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