Roma striker Raffael Di Maria is taking the reins as the team’s hero, a role that he feels he is ready to assume.
The 30-year-old, who has scored two goals in five Serie A games this season, is the latest Roma player to have come out in support of his team-mates, following in the footsteps of former teammate Simone Zaza and Juventus striker Andrea Pirlo.
“I’m not an athlete, I’m a warrior.
I will be a superhero, to defend my teammates,” Di Maria told the media after Roma’s 1-0 win over Udinese on Saturday.”
It’s important to me that we play together.
I want to make my teammates and fans proud.”
Di Maria’s teammates, Zaza, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Pirlos, have been among the first to support him, with the latter suggesting that Di Maria “wants to be the hero”.
“I think that he wants to be an icon of the team,” Ibrahimovic told journalists.
“He wants to have a role in the team, not only on the pitch, but in the community.”
The more I see him playing, the more I’m happy for him.
“Roma’s fans will be delighted to hear that Di María’s future in the club remains unclear, with coach Rudi Garcia confirming that the former Manchester United and Juventus forward will not return to Italy.”
We are still discussing with the player about what he wants,” Garcia told reporters.”
But I don’t think he will be returning to Italy.
“Garcia added that Di Mira’s contract with Roma expires in 2019.”
What we’re talking about is an extension.
We have the same goals for him as for us.
We are looking for an extension for 2019, and he will sign that extension,” he said.”
For him, this is a very important decision.
“Di María has been a regular fixture in the Roma team since arriving at the club from Sampdoria in 2010, but he has not made a first-team appearance since 2013.
Despite the player’s success, he has found himself in hot water at the Estadio Olimpico, where he has been fined six times for the offence of spitting on a police officer.
Despite his record of fines, the former midfielder has been highly successful on the field.
He has scored four goals in the Europa League this season and has helped the Rossoneri win the last four Champions League finals.