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Di Maria hails Mourinho influence

By Football News



Real Madrid midfielder Angel di Maria says Jose Mourinho has had a major role in his development as a player.

The 24-year-old, who joined Real from Benfica in 2010, recently extended his contract in Madrid until 2018 after making an excellent start to his career in the Spanish capital.

"The day he told me to come (to Real Madrid) I was at the World Cup and I was not doing very well but he kept trying," di Maria said.

"I think most of what I am doing here is thanks to him and I try to repay that with hard work every day.

"As a player I've changed a lot with Mourinho and his work. And as a person. To play (for) Real is something you dream as a kid. (I am) very happy with my new contract because I have plenty of years ahead of me."

Di Maria played an important role in Real Madrid's La Liga success last term, a tremendous achievement given the talent at the disposal of then-Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola.

Since arriving in Madrid, Mourinho has led Real to success in the league, Copa del Rey and Spanish Super Cup but UEFA Champions League glory has eluded him so far.

And with Real last having lifted the trophy in Europe's premier club competition in 2002, Di Maria said they were setting their sights on winning the trophy for the 10th time.

"The first year with Mourinho we won La Copa (Copa del Rey), then La Liga, and I wish this year we are able to win not only the Champions (League but other competitions also)," he said.

"We are going to fight for every title because we are Real Madrid and that is what we have to do, and we'll see what we get."