Blanc backs Di Maria to shine on Real Madrid return

The winger faces his former club on Tuesday night and his manager acknowledges the game will have a special significance for him

Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc has backed Angel di Maria to shine when he faces his former club Real Madrid on Tuesday.

The winger will return to the Bernabeu for the first time since he left the club for Manchester United in August 2014 when the two teams meet in the Champions League.

Di Maria’s fortunes have suffered since his departure from Madrid, with the 27-year-old leaving Old Trafford for Paris this summer after spending just one season in England.

He is also yet to hit top form in Ligue 1, but did score in the victory over Rennes on Friday, and Blanc has faith the Argentina star will deliver against his former employers.

“Angel will begin the match,” he said. “It will be a special event for him because he spent several seasons here. 

“He is a player that has been enjoyed here. He should be ready, focused and have the right attitude to bring us what he can do.

“This would be a nice for him to realise a good performance here.”

PSG and Madrid played out a goalless draw at the Parc des Princes in the reverse fixture and Blanc conceded Rafael Benitez’s tactics caught him off guard last time around.

“Before the first leg, everyone saw Real Madrid as a rather defensive team adept against attacks,” he explained.  

“It proved otherwise at the Parc des Princes. Madrid were good in their use of the ball and relied on very fast players. 

“We were surprised by their philosophy, but it will be a different game on Tuesday.”

Blanc added that he would make a late decision on whether to include David Luiz in his starting line-up, with the Brazil defender plotting a return from a month on the sidelines with a knee injury.

“We have one training this Monday night,” he said. “This final session should give us clues about the presence or absence of David Luiz.”

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