Real investigate Angel Di Maria gesture

Real Madrid have opened an investigation into Angel Di Maria’s alleged offensive gesture during Monday’s 3-0 La Liga win, as well-placed local media sources continue to report the winger could now be sold this January.

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When substituted during Monday’s game, TV pictures showed Di Maria appearing to grab his crotch provocatively in reaction to whistles from Bernabeu fans unhappy with his performance, although he himself claimed afterwards that he had just been “adjusting himself” and had not directed any gesture at anyone.

Di Maria also said that the whole situation was created by Spanish journalists who dislike him personally, but apparent leaks from both the club and his own agents continue to suggest the 25-year-old will leave Madrid this month if another club meet his asking price, which AS suggests is around 30 to 35 million euros and El Economista puts at 40 to 45 million euros.

The official investigation into the matter was confirmed on Real Madrid’s official website on Wednesday afternoon, in a move apparently aimed at ensuring no repeat of the fan and pundit criticism that followed the sale of Mesut Ozil to Arsenal last summer.

The Gunners have again been mentioned in speculation about clubs interested in the Argentine, as have Manchester United, but Monaco remain favourites given the French club’s links with Di Maria’s agent, Jorge Mendes.

Di Maria himself told Real Madrid TV that he is in favour of a formal inquiry where he could give his side of the story.

“I think it is the right thing to do,” he said. “Not just for [the club], who have started the investigation, but also for me as it means I can explain the situation and what happened. I think it is good as I can talk to them directly and explain what happened on the pitch.

“I made a normal gesture when I was going off. I did not want to do anything aimed at the fans or the manager either. It was a natural movement which all men make, especially when you are running. You do it a lot on the pitch. On the TV you can see that it lasts a fraction of a second. It is nothing. I apologise to the people who may be offended by what I did, but it was not aimed at anyone.”

The former Benfica player said he otherwise had no problems at Madrid and planned to stay at the club for the remainder of the season at the very least.

“The truth is that I am fine, apart from this subject which makes me feel bad because of all the things which have been said and keep on being said,” he said.

“I am very well and very happy. I am training in the same way and the manager still trusts in me. I have to carry on this way, working hard, to reach the end of the season in the best shape and to be able to win the trophies we are aiming for.”