Angel Di Maria is eagerly anticipating a return to Champions League action with Paris-Saint Germain after a “tough” year at Manchester United.
United’s failure to play in Europe’s elite club competition last season was a source of frustration for Di Maria, even though he knew that would be the case when he completed his move to Old Trafford from Real Madrid.
After a blistering start to life in England, Di Maria’s form faded badly and he moved on to PSG for £44.3 million in August.
The Argentina forward will line up for his new club when they take on Malmo at Parc des Princes on Tuesday and he is as excited as when he made his Champions League debut for Benfica in 2007.
He told Le Parisien: “I really cannot wait to play in the Champions League again. Last season was tough for me, watching the Champions League on television was tough for me. I think on Tuesday I will feel the same emotion as my first European game for Benfica.
“It is a beautiful competition, everyone looks forward to the draw and then there’s the music before the game.”
Shakhtar Donetsk and Real Madrid make up the rest of Group A with Rafael Benitez’s men expected to edge out PSG in the race for top spot.
Di Maria is optimistic, however, that his new club can outshine his old one.
He added: “It is possible [for PSG to finish above Real] but it will be difficult, especially as there are two other teams who will also try to advance to the next stage. I think we will have to play perfect games at home because it is even more difficult away.
“One of the key things is to not make any mistakes because they [Madrid] have a lot of very talented players with lots of experience.”
Di Maria has played alongside the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for Argentina and Real, respectively, but he believes PSG striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is on a similar level.
He added: “I had the chance to play with Leo, Cristiano and [Wayne] Rooney. Now Ibra. Honestly, I am impressed by the quality of his technique and his movement. They are at the same level as Leo and CR7. These are players who can make a difference.”