Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is eager to bring in two attacking players this off-season following their third-place Premier League finish last term.

The club's new owners are set to back Tuchel's plans, with the Blues linked to Raheem Sterling, Barcelona's Ousmane Dembele and Everton's Richarlison.

However, Chelsea could be set for their first splash of the window by signing a superstar from Elland Road.

TOP STORY – CHELSEA TO WIN RAPHINHA RACE

Chelsea are set to win the race to sign Leeds United's Brazilian forward Raphinha claims The Guardian.

Raphinha is being pursued by Arsenal and Barcelona along with the Blues, who are set to complete a £55million deal for the 25-year-old.

The winger is contracted with Leeds until 2024 and may follow Kalvin Phillips out of Elland Road with the England midfielder set to complete his move to Manchester City.

 

 

ROUND-UP

- The Mail reports Chelsea are also interested in a move for Inter defender Milan Skriniar who has been linked with Paris Saint-Germain. L'Equipe claims that PSG's initial offer for the Slovakian was worth €50m.

- Portugal midfielder Renato Sanches is eager to join PSG from Lille according to Le Parisien, with a €10m offer on the table. Sanches has one year remaining on his contract.

- Univision reports that LAFC are not pursuing Atletico Madrid forward Luis Suarez amid speculation linking the Uruguayan with the MLS club after they recently landed Gareth Bale and Giorgio Chiellini.

- Milan are looking into swooping to sign Juventus' Paulo Dybala who has been heavily linked with Inter, claims RadioRadio.

- Liverpool's Divock Origi is set to join Milan on a four-year deal pending a medical as widely reported by the Italian media.

- Argentinean outlet Relevo reports that Angel Di Maria is set to sign a deal with Juventus on Wednesday, having left PSG as a free agent.

Angel Di Maria would be a great signing for Juventus who can emulate former Real Madrid team-mates Karim Benzema and Luka Modric by playing at an elite level in his mid-30s.

That is the view of Iker Casillas, who played alongside Di Maria when Madrid won their 10th Champions League title in 2013-14.

Casillas feels the Argentine will be keen to feature regularly for the Bianconeri to cement his place at what could be his fourth World Cup later this year.

Di Maria is departing Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer after spending seven years in Ligue 1, and is widely expected to join Massimiliano Allegri's Juventus in the coming days.

The 34-year-old's agent revealed this week that only the "final details" of his contract in Turin remain outstanding, and Casillas believes his former team-mate will thrive in Italy.

"Di Maria is a great move," the 2010 World Cup winner told La Gazzetta dello Sport. 

"Angel with [Federico] Chiesa, [Dusan] Vlahovic and [Paul] Pogba... what a great team! And he will want to prepare well for the World Cup.

"He is a very cautious guy who has always taken great care of himself physically. He has never suffered serious injuries. I think he is in great shape. 

"Here in Europe, he has always played at a high level, in big clubs. Di Maria will give Juve a new step.

"There is a World Cup in November and it is clear that he is looking for a team where he can play regularly and prepare in the best possible way for the challenge in Qatar.

"Even at 34 years old he is a great player. Age counts only relatively now, careers have lengthened. 

"Without reaching the 44 years of my friend [Gianluigi] Buffon, there are other examples of players over 30 who are doing very well and playing to the fullest level. You just have to think about Benzema and Modric."

Di Maria won six trophies during a four-year spell with Madrid, which he ended in spectacular fashion with a man-of-the-match performance in Los Blancos' Champions League final win over Atletico Madrid in 2014.

Recalling Di Maria's performance as a central midfielder in that 2014 match, Casillas argued his versatility would be a great asset for Juve.

"Juventus bets on a player who knows how to do a lot of things in different areas of the pitch," he added. 

"When we won 'the Decima', [Carlo] Ancelotti changed his position in the middle of the season and he played very well.

"He can play both up front and in the centre of the field, he is an intelligent guy who knows football well. Angel has impressive shots and can decide games by himself."

Angel Di Maria and Juventus are agreeing the "final details" of his contract as the Argentina international nears a move to Turin, according to the forward's agent.

Di Maria joined Paris Saint-Germain from Manchester United in 2015 but will leave the French capital when his terms expire later this week.

Barcelona were said to be interested in, but reports suggest the 34-year-old will sign a one-year deal with Juve with the option of an additional one-season extension.

New Rosario Central head coach Carlos Tevez also expressed his interest in bringing Di Maria back to his former club, with the attacker said to want to return to Argentina after the World Cup in Qatar.

That is said to have delayed the negotiations between Di Maria and Juve, but his agent Lisandro Pirosanto insists a move will soon be confirmed.

"We are talking about the final details and we are waiting for Juventus to give us the okay on some things," Pirosanto said, as quoted by La Stampa.

Massimiliano Allegri will acquire an experienced campaigner should Di Maria arrive as expected as Juve look to compete with Milan, Inter and Napoli at the Serie A summit.

Di Maria appeared 295 times for PSG, scoring 92 goals and assisting 112 times in all competitions.

He played 31 games in his final season in Paris and managed 13 goal involvements (five goals, eight assists), a tally bettered only by Neymar (21), Lionel Messi (25) and Kylian Mbappe (60) among PSG players.

Angel Di Maria is concerned he has yet to do enough to guarantee himself a place in Argentina's World Cup squad due to uncertainty surrounding his future at club level.

The 34-year-old is without a club after leaving Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer following a seven-season spell in the French capital.

He has been linked with a number of teams, with Serie A giants Juventus reportedly close to agreeing a one-year deal for the former Manchester United and Real Madrid player.

Speaking earlier this week, meanwhile, newly appointed Rosario Central boss Carlos Tevez revealed he is hoping to bring Di Maria back to the Argentine club.

Di Maria will not have long to settle at his new side before Qatar 2022 begins on November 21, with Argentina in Group C alongside Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Poland.

And despite playing a key part in his country's successful qualifying campaign with three goals, the free agent is not taking his place in the 26-man squad for granted.

"The only one guaranteed to be in is Lionel Messi," Di Maria, who has appeared at three previous World Cup finals, told TNT Sports. 

"Four months from now you don't know. I have to change clubs, adapt again, play and feel good – that will make a difference."

 

Di Maria is Argentina's fourth-most capped player of all time with 122 appearances, behind only Messi (162), Javier Mascherano (147) and Javier Zanetti (145).

He made 31 appearances for PSG in his final season at the Parc des Princes and registered 13 goal involvements – five goals of his own and a further eight assists.

That is a tally only Neymar (21), Messi (25) and Kylian Mbappe (60) could better among PSG players in the 2021-22 campaign.

Juve remain the favourites to sign Di Maria and the attacking midfielder confirmed the Italian side's interest, as well as commenting on previous links to Barcelona.

"Juventus are the biggest club in Italy and one of the teams interested in me," he said. "Right now I am thinking things through, but I am focused on my holidays and family.

"Barcelona are one of the best teams in the world and I have always had to play against them in the past."

Carlos Tevez has expressed an interest in bringing Angel Di Maria back to Rosario Central after being confirmed as their new head coach, as he pledged to emulate former Juventus boss Antonio Conte upon entering the dugout.

Former Manchester United, Manchester City and Juve forward Tevez was appointed as Central's new boss on Tuesday, having ended his illustrious playing career earlier this month.

Speaking at his unveiling after signing a one-year contract with the four-time Argentinian champions, Tevez revealed his interest in coaching his former international team-mate Di Maria. 

Di Maria – who made 39 appearances for Central at the start of his career before heading to Europe with Benfica - is leaving Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer and has attracted interest from the Bianconeri, but Tevez plans on speaking with him soon.

"I haven't spoken to Di Maria", he said. "I barely have time to speak to my wife! I haven't spoken to her. 

"But who wouldn't like to have him? Di Maria means a lot to this club. When the situation calms down, I'll call him and ask him what he wants to do.

"We know him. He would bring a lot. He would bring his experience to young players. In addition to experience, he has great technical quality. He has played in the biggest clubs, it would be easy to be his trainer."

Di Maria is the fourth-most capped player in the history of the Argentina's national team with 122 appearances (after Lionel Messi with 162, Javier Mascherano with 147 and Javier Zanetti with 145), and will hope to appear at his fourth World Cup in Qatar later this year.

Meanwhile, Tevez won a remarkable 26 titles during his playing career, and featured under a host of big-name coaches including Alex Ferguson, Massimiliano Allegri and Roberto Mancini.

But the 38-year-old says Tottenham boss Conte, who signed him for Juventus in 2013, is his foremost coaching inspiration.

"When you stand on the other side of the line, the player dies, that's one way of putting it." He said. "You start to think differently, much colder. Today I am a coach and I like this profession. 

"I have a great reference who was Conte at Juventus, he was one of those who taught me the most as a player.

"I'm going to try to get the team to play at least a little bit, or half the way his team played."

Romelu Lukaku could make a "huge difference" to Inter's attack should he return to the club from Chelsea, according to Blues legend Gianfranco Zola.

Lukaku is closing in on a return to San Siro less than a year after joining Chelsea in a club-record £97.5million transfer, with Inter chief executive Giuseppe Marotta revealing on Monday the club are in talks to sign both the Belgian and Juventus' Paulo Dybala.

The Chelsea striker only scored eight Premier League goals as Chelsea finished third in the English top flight last term, and reportedly wants to return to the club with whom he won Serie A in 2020-21.

Lukaku scored 30 goals and recorded 11 assists in 44 appearances for Inter in his last season with the Nerazzurri, averaging a goal every 118.77 minutes.

Among strikers in the top five European leagues to hit 20 goals or more in all competitions that campaign, only eight averaged fewer minutes between strikes than the Belgian, including the likes of Robert Lewandowski (70.6), Kylian Mbappe (88.62), Cristiano Ronaldo (104.19) and Lionel Messi (110.32).

Chelsea great Zola thinks Lukaku could make the difference for an Inter side that missed out on the Serie A title by just two points last season.

"Lukaku continued to express this desire to return to Inter where he had found himself very well, but honestly I thought it was a difficult operation," he told Sky in Italy.

"If he returned to Inter, he would be a player capable of making a huge difference, also in light of this year's difficulties."

Another high-profile player to be linked with a move to Italy is Angel Di Maria, who is available on a free transfer after announcing his departure from Paris Saint-Germain.

The Argentina international is reportedly a target for Juventus, and Zola believes that move would benefit both the Bianconeri and Serie A as a whole.

However, he also called on Italian football to do more to produce young attacking players of Di Maria's quality after Roberto Mancini's Azzurri missed out on qualification for the World Cup and made a poor start to their Nations League campaign.

"He has important experience and quality, players of this calibre raise the level of our football," Zola said of Di Maria.

"But we must think of creating higher quality players in our youth sector, especially in the last 40 metres [before goal], where we lack."

Gianluigi Buffon hopes his former club Juventus sign Angel Di Maria as he likened the Paris Saint-Germain attacker to Argentina great Diego Maradona.

Di Maria joined PSG from Manchester United in 2015 but is to leave the French capital at the expiration of his deal at the end of June.

Juve have reportedly offered Di Maria a one-year contract with the option of an additional one-season extension.

Reports suggest Di Maria is intent on staying in European football for just one more season, though, before playing at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and returning to compete in his native Argentina.

That is said to have led to a delay in negotiations between the 34-year-old and Massimiliano Allegri's side.

Former Juve goalkeeper Buffon encouraged the Bianconeri to push the deal through for Di Maria, with the Italy legend suggesting he would be as influential in Serie A as the late, great Maradona was with Napoli.

"Di Maria in Serie A is like Maradona," Buffon said to Italian publication La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Footballers must be valued considering where they play. Serie A, today, is technically poorer and Angel has so much technique.

"He is decisive in front of goal, he dribbles past his opponents. He is good at making assists and runs up and down on the pitch. He can play in different roles."

Buffon is speaking from experience, having crossed paths with Di Maria at PSG in the 2018-19 campaign.

The Parma goalkeeper also suggested Di Maria is talented enough that age should not be a factor as Juve aim to secure the winger.

"I am 44, but I still play, age doesn't matter. Motivation and passion are more important and so is determination," he added. "If Di Maria joins Juventus, it means that he's ready to do so.

"He is an exemplary professional, one who never gives up and fights during games and training sessions. For today's Serie A, he'd be like Maradona.

"At PSG, I played with Neymar, a young Kylian Mbappe, Marco Verratti… but Di Maria was not inferior to no one.

"When he won the Decima [the 10th Champions League title] at [Real] Madrid in 2014, he was playing with Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos.

"He was always a step back from them but knew how to play as a winger, attacking midfielder and even 'Mezzala' [a wide central midfielder in a diamond or three-man midfield].

"Whoever signs him, and I hope it's Juve, it will be a good deal. We are talking about a champion."

Dusan Vlahovic was not missed at Fiorentina after departing for Juventus in January, according to his former team-mate Nicolas Gonzalez.

Vlahovic scored 20 goals in 24 appearances for Vincenzo Italiano's side in the first half of last season, becoming one of European football's hottest properties and earning a reported €80million (£66.6m) move to Juve.

The Serbia international scored nine goals in 21 appearances for the Bianconeri following his big-money switch.

Vlahovic's decision to join rivals Juve sparked outrage at Fiorentina, who had already seen the likes of Federico Chiesa, Juan Cuadrado, Roberto Baggio and Christian Vieri, move to Turin.

Gonzalez, who finished as Fiorentina's second-highest goalscorer after Vlahovic in the 2021-22 season with eight goals in all competitions, gave a frank answer when asked about the impact of the striker's departure.

"His absence was not felt," the winger told SportItalia. "Obviously he is a strong player, but the fans did not like his attitude. 

"He is a young boy who has a lot to learn."

 

Gonzalez has won 21 caps for Argentina, and featured from the bench during his 3-0 rout of Italy at Wembley earlier this month.

He hopes his international team-mate Angel Angel Di Maria, a reported target for Juve, will join him in Serie A.

 Gonzalez said: "I'd like to see him in Italy. He's a player I've always appreciated, and he could give a lot to Italian football."

The 24-year-old would also like to see Paulo Dybala stay in Italy, saying: "I'd like to see him at Inter with [Joaquin] Correa and Lautaro [Martinez]."

The seemingly never-ending 2021-22 season may be ongoing, with a number of big international fixtures still to be played this month, but plenty of focus is already on the next campaign.

This month's conclusion will mark the end of an era for many players as their contracts come to an end – though for some it will provide a much-needed opportunity to begin a new chapter elsewhere.

For others, becoming a free agent simply provides more bargaining power when negotiating fresh terms with their current employers, at a time when most clubs cannot spend as frivolously on new players as they once could.

While some big-name freebies have already moved clubs, and others are reported to have signed pre-contract agreements elsewhere – such as Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen at Barcelona – others remain on the market.

Here, Stats Perform picks out some of those who are on the lookout for a new club.


Player: Paul Pogba
Current club: Manchester United
Rumoured suitors: Juventus, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain

United last week announced the departures of six players, with Juan Mata, Edinson Cavani, Jesse Lingard and Pogba among them. While the first three of those will undoubtedly be of interest to teams across the continent, Pogba is arguably the most in-demand free agent around.

Juventus reportedly lead the way for the France international, who won eight trophies in four seasons with the Serie A giants prior to rejoining United in 2016. Whichever side of the divide you stand – that Pogba has too often been used out of position or is just simply not good enough – there is no denying his second spell at Old Trafford has not gone to plan.

Still, with 67 goals and assists in the Premier League since the start of 2016-17, United are waving goodbye to a player who has been involved in 17.5 per cent of their goals across that period – only Marcus Rashford (21.9 per cent) has directly contributed to more.

 

Player: Gareth Bale
Current club: Real Madrid
Rumoured suitors: Cardiff City, Getafe, MLS clubs

As the winner of 16 trophies across nine seasons at Madrid – one of those spent on loan at Tottenham – and still aged just 32, you would imagine Bale would have the pick of the world's top clubs to choose from in the upcoming transfer window.

But that is not quite the case, with hometown club Cardiff City and Madrid-based Getafe now considered the two favourites to land the Wales international. That does come with a caveat of sorts, though, as Bale's main focus is on entering November's World Cup with Wales in peak fitness, rather than adding to his trophy collection.

The forward has had a number of injury setbacks in recent years but, wherever he plies his trade next season, he will want to play more football than he did in 2021-22 when available. He featured in just seven of Madrid's 56 matches, totalling 290 minutes on the field, and started only four of those – seven per cent of all minutes Madrid played.

 

Player: Ousmane Dembele
Current club: Barcelona
Rumoured suitors: Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Liverpool

Barcelona were eager to get Dembele off their books in January, so much so that director of football Mateu Alemany publicly told the France international to find a new club "immediately". Five months on, after a strong second half to the 2021-22 season, Barca would like nothing more than to retain Dembele's services.

The former Borussia Dortmund attacker assisted 11 LaLiga goals between the start of 2022 and the end of the season, a tally that no other player across Europe's top five leagues could match, with Lionel Messi next best on 10 with PSG in Ligue 1.

Re-signing Messi has been touted, but that seems fanciful a year on from his emotional exit, so Barca may well focus on tying Dembele down to a new deal before PSG – who also have another ex-Barcelona favourite in Neymar on their books – add to a star-studded frontline.

 

Player: Paulo Dybala
Current club: Juventus
Rumoured suitors: Arsenal, Tottenham, Barcelona

Juventus are coming off the back of their first trophyless season in a decade, and with it comes the end of an era in many ways as Giorgio Chiellini is departing after 18 years in Turin, while Federico Bernardeschi is also on his way out and seemingly set for Napoli.

However, the name on everyone's lips right now is Dybala's, even if the Argentina international has not fully lived up to the admittedly huge hype following his arrival at Juve from Palermo in a €40million transfer seven years ago.

Dybala can still be pleased enough with his goalscoring return at the Allianz Stadium, having netted 115 goals in 293 appearances in all competitions, making him the club's third-highest foreign goalscorer of all time behind David Trezeguet (171) and John Hansen (124).

 

Player: Angel Di Maria 
Current club: Paris Saint-Germain
Rumoured suitors: Juventus, Barcelona

Di Maria signed off from PSG in the near-perfect manner with a goal and an assist in his final game for the club against Metz last month, though his importance clearly diminished following the arrival of Messi as he started just 19 Ligue 1 games last term, down from 23 in the two previous campaigns.

That performance against Metz, albeit in a dead-rubber, highlighted Di Maria's quality when used and it is perhaps little surprise that some big-name clubs are interested. A move to Juventus seemed a certainty not so long ago, but Barcelona are supposedly now the frontrunners for the 34-year-old.

Di Maria is not the only South American attacker available to sign on a free next month, either, as the aforementioned Cavani and Uruguay international team-mate Luis Suarez are also on the lookout for a new club following their exits from United and Atletico Madrid respectively.

Angel Di Maria has indicated Mauricio Pochettino will be sacked as part of a "big change" at Paris Saint-Germain before the start of next season.

Pochettino is contracted to PSG until 2023, but it has long since been reported that his job is under threat.

Roma boss Jose Mourinho is the latest name to be linked with the Ligue 1 champions, while there has been no shortage of speculation that Zinedine Zidane could replace head coach Pochettino.

Di Maria has played his final game for Parisian giants with his contract expiring at the end of this month and the winger suggested Pochettino could also be on his way out.

The Argentina international told TyC Sports: "There are other players who will surely leave. Mine was the easiest because they didn't have to renew [his contract].

"On the one hand it hurt and on the other, no. I left in a very special way. It was an unforgettable night [Di Maria was given a standing ovation when he was substituted in a 5-0 thrashing of Metz], that an Argentine in another country has a farewell like mine, not everyone does.

"The affection of the PSG fans, the ones behind the goal, is the most difficult thing to achieve. That I go outside, that they sing for me alone and having made a mural for me to sign are things that remain in the memory."

He added: "It seems like they also want the coach to leave. There will be a very big change, but I think [Lionel] Messi knew how to understand it.

"It will help him to be much better next season. I think it will start very well because he ended up scoring goals, giving assists, feeling very comfortable and adapting more and more."

Di Maria has been linked with Juventus and Barcelona after becoming a free agent.

Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni insisted his side can compete with any team at the World Cup, after their 3-0 win over Italy in the UEFA/CONMEBOL Finalissima at Wembley on Wednesday.

The Albiceleste were ruthless in transition, pouncing on any opportunity to counter, with first-half goals from Lautaro Martinez and Angel Di Maria capped off by Paulo Dybala's second-half injury-time strike.

Argentina set a new national team record in the process, now moving to 32 matches unbeaten.

On the back of 2021's Copa America triumph, Scaloni said that while his team is strong as any heading into Qatar, success will only come through spirit.

"What counts is the spirit of sacrifice, struggle and team spirit shown by the group, beyond the results," he told ESPN Argentina. "What we want is a performance, to know what the team is looking for on the pitch.

"There is, perhaps, too much enthusiasm [in the public], because in football when you think everything is done, they take you down with a stroke of the pen. We do know that we are going to go to a World Cup to compete on an equal footing with any team.

"We believe that the confidence of winning frees you from many things, but we are not exempt from the fact that the team can block itself at some point and that is what worries me. We have to be prepared in case fate takes a turn."

The South American champions faced difficulty as the game compressed despite the majority of possession. Chiefly through Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria, they sprung into life whenever space opened.

Much like their struggles late in the World Cup qualification phase – which culminated in playoff elimination at the hands of North Macedonia – Italy looked lifeless without Marco Verratti on the other hand, managing only one shot in the penalty area.

Scaloni conceded the result belied certain aspects of his team's performances, but is buoyed by a similar spirit that propelled the team to success in Brazil last year.

"I don't know if it's the best game we played," he said post-match. "In the first half I think they put us in trouble, at times. We feel comfortable afterwards.

"I want that every time we get together we are in the same way, united as we are now. The World Cup is going to be something else, it has a different pressure. Now people enjoy and it is the most important thing for us."

Kylian Mbappe can become the best player in the world after renewing his contract at Paris Saint-German, said team-mate Ander Herrera.

A long-running saga lasting over a year was ended on Saturday when Mbappe rejected the overtures of Real Madrid to pen an extension at Parc des Princes until 2025.

It was a decision that took the football world by surprise with Mbappe having reportedly given his world to the Los Blancos hierarchy he would move to the Santiago Bernabeu.

The renewal is said to have included a €150million signing-on fee as well as having a say on areas such as the appointments of the sporting director and head coach, as well as player signings and sales.

For midfielder Herrera, though, the focus was just on the joy of retaining a superstar team-mate.

"We were happy today; it wasn't the time to discuss it. We are happy for him, for the club and for the group," he said in the aftermath of PSG's 5-0 rout of Metz in their final game of the Ligue 1 campaign.

"He can become the best player in the world in a few years. So, we are happy for us, for him. We celebrated the title; we didn't talk about it."

Angel Di Maria's time at the Parc des Prince has come to an end following the Metz triumph but the Argentine winger was similarly enthused by Mbappe's decision to stay put.

"I am very happy for Kylian, he made the right decision to stay here," said Di Maria, a former Madrid star.

"Paris is a great club, which continues to grow and can do great things. Kylian is close to reaching the 200-goal mark here, to make history. He made a perfect decision."

Marquinhos savoured a "perfect evening" for Paris Saint-Germain as Kylian Mbappe scored a hat-trick and Angel di Maria signed off in style in a 5-0 rout of Metz.

Mauricio Pochettino's side relegated Metz by dishing out on a thrashing in their final game of the season after Mbappe signed a new contract.

It was announced before kick-off at Parc des Princes on Saturday that France forward Mbappe had snubbed Real Madrid in favour of putting paper on a new three-year deal with the Ligue 1 champions.

Meanwhile Di Maria, who left the field in tears when substituted late on, marked his final appearance for the club after seven years in the French capital by rounding off the scoring.

Marquinhos told Prime Video Sport: "The tribute to Di Maria is deserved for everything he has done. Kylian [Mbappe] scores and announces his extension, it's a perfect evening."

And the skipper is well aware of the significance of keeping hold of Mbappe following so much talk that he was on his way to Madrid.

He added: "[Kylian] was strong; he didn't say anything, he showed nothing. When we were in the dressing room, this ceremony [when his new deal was revealed] boosted us for the game.

"[His extension] is a big step, but there is still a lot to do, we have to analyse what has been good and not so good this season."

Marquinhos also paid tribute to the outgoing Di Maria, who is heavily linked with a move to Serie A giants Juventus.

"[Angel is] a great, he's a gentleman. He's a big game player," he continued.

"He has always made a difference for us – me especially; he gave me a lot of passes. 

"It touches when you see players like that leave; it's part of my story here.  It hurts to see him go, we just have to thank him."

Paris Saint-Germain have confirmed Angel Di Maria will leave the club upon the expiration of his contract. 

Di Maria joined PSG from Manchester United in 2015 and has gone on to enjoy a stellar stint in the French capital. 

The former Real Madrid winger has won five Ligue 1 titles, enjoyed as many Coupe de France triumphs and collected four Coupe de la Ligue trophies. 

He has not been able to help PSG win the Champions League, though he did get a runners-up medal in 2019-20. 

Di Maria, who scored in a 4-0 rout of Montpellier last week, contributed to 40 goals in his first season at PSG, scoring 15 and providing 25 assists. 

In the 2021 Coupe de France final, his pass for a Kylian Mbappe goal saw Di Maria become the player with the most assists in PSG's history (104). 

He has assisted 71 goals in Ligue 1 since his debut in 2015, 27 more than any other PSG player in that time frame, and created 482 chances – way clear of second-ranked Neymar's tally of 267. His 55 goals place him fourth, behind Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Mbappe. 

Lionel Messi's arrival last year limited Di Maria's minutes, with the Argentine featuring 30 times across all competitions in the 2021-22 campaign and starting 21 of those games. 

On Friday, ahead of PSG's final game of the season against Metz, Di Maria posted a picture of the squad to his official Instagram account with the message: "Gracias. Merci." 

"Angel Di Maria has definitely marked the history of the club," said PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi. 

"He will be remembered by supporters as a player of impeccable spirit, who showed unwavering commitment to defending our colours.  

"I invite the whole Paris Saint-Germain family to meet [Saturday] at the Parc des Princes to pay him the tribute he deserves." 

Reports have suggested that Juventus have lined up a move for Di Maria, who turned 34 in February. 

Angel Di Maria should continue playing in Europe for another one or two seasons despite his uncertain future with Paris Saint-Germain.

That is the view of Di Maria's father Miguel as the winger reviews his career options.

Di Maria is expected to leave PSG when his contract expires at the end of the season.

The former Real Madrid and Manchester United player has only started four times in Ligue 1 since the start of 2022 and his importance to the team appears to be diminishing.

Di Maria has three goals and three assists from 20 league appearances this season, but his father Miguel believes he still has more to do in Europe and should remain there with the World Cup approaching.

"I would like him to play one or two more years in Europe and then come back [to Argentina]," Miguel said to Radio La Red. 

"He is just 34 years old and he still has a career [at the highest level]. 

"He takes great care of himself, so he has to continue playing [in Europe]." 

Di Maria has had a successful seven seasons with PSG since arriving from Old Trafford in 2015 after a disappointing campaign in the Premier League.

He is closing in on a fifth Ligue 1 title with Mauricio Pochettino's men, but is now deciding on his next move as he nears the end of the one-year contract extension he signed in 2021.

Di Maria has also been pondering his future at international level.

The veteran said after scoring once and creating another goal in the 3-0 World Cup qualifying win over Venezuela at La Bombonera on Friday that he had likely played for Argentina on home soil for the last time.

He thanked supporters and confirmed he would consider retiring from Argentina duty after the World Cup in Qatar at the end of this year.

"We talked later [that night] – I was very happy and he was very proud," added Miguel.

"It's on his mind and it all depends on him.

"I wish he could continue but from what he said that was his last game in Argentina and then it's Qatar and it's over, he's not going to play for Argentina anymore." 

Miguel added that when the time comes to return home, Di Maria still plans to do so with boyhood club Rosario Central.

"His idea is to come to Central for what remains in his career and finish the race – that's it for now," he said.

"He has already said retiring with Central [is his goal]. Hopefully he can achieve it. That is what he is lacking so far because he left here very young and could not enjoy anything."

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