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Juventus, Real Madrid stars share why they want to put on a show at the Rose Bowl

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Juventus striker Ángel Di Maria tries to dribble past Barcelona defender Jordi Alba (rear) and striker Pierre Emerick Aubameyang (left) during the first half of a football match at the Cotton Bowl on Tuesday, July 26, 2022, in Dallas.  The game ended in a draw 2-2.  (AP Photo/Geoffrey McWhorter)
Juventus striker Ángel Di Maria tries to dribble past Barcelona defender Jordi Alba (rear) and striker Pierre Emerick Aubameyang (left) during a match at the Cotton Bowl on Tuesday. (Geoffrey McWhorter/Associated Press)

For someone who’s played football for so long and changed clubs as often as Angel Di Maria, it’s not uncommon to have to play in the shirt you once wore.

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That’s exactly what Di Maria will experience on Saturday when Juventus’ newfound midfielder takes on Real Madrid in a pre-season friendly at the Rose Bowl.

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Di Maria, who has won six trophies in five seasons at Real Madrid, signed for Juventus three weeks ago after a seven-year stint with Paris Saint-Germain. At 34, he hopes to qualify for a fourth World Cup with Argentina, where his 122 caps are second only to Lionel Messi among active players. To do so, he will have to quickly prove his fitness after making just 22 starts in all competitions last season, his lowest in a decade.

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“From the day I arrived, my colleagues treated me very well and they all integrated me into the group very quickly,” Di Maria said in Spanish. – This is important to me.

Di Maria and midfielder Paul Pogba, who played last season for Manchester United, are among the four main players the team made in the summer transfer window. Introducing them to the Juventus style and their new teammates was the main goal of the club’s three-game pre-season in the US, the first since 2018.

Angel Di Maria raises his hands after receiving a medal on the field.
Angel Di Maria of Argentina celebrates receiving a medal at the end of the Finalissima match between Italy and Argentina at Wembley Stadium on June 1. (Matt Dunham/Associated Press)

Di Maria started the first two games playing 122 minutes in total in a 2-0 win over Chivas in Las Vegas and a 2-2 draw with Barcelona in Dallas over the past eight days. He has made previous visits to the US with Real Madrid and PSG and considers them valuable, even if the score doesn’t really matter.

“This is a place where people rarely see these clubs,” he said. “The stadium is always crowded. The results in these games do not matter much. Do what the coach asks. Show that we are physically healthy. Try to get to know your teammates.

“We also try to make it a good show.”

The tour is linked to Juventus’ retooling after the first season since 2011 in which it failed to win a trophy. Among the departed there is a former captain Giorgio Chiellini, who signed with LAFC last month. Among those who returned is the midfielder of the US national team. Weston McKennythe subject of numerous transfer rumours, who did not play in the team’s first two matches but could have played in the Rose Bowl.

For Real Madrid, meanwhile, this tour follows a season in which they won the La Liga and Champions League crowns, losing just nine times in 56 matches in all competitions. And only three of the 23 players who prepared for the Champions League final did not return, including the winger Gareth Bale, who also signed with the LAFC..

“Although we have won the Champions League, we have a lot of room for improvement,” said Carlo Ancelotti, the only coach to have won four Champions League titles. “Trying to do better than last season is not easy because last season was exceptional, extraordinary.

“But in our thoughts it is worth trying to become better. System now, we have more confidence. There is more knowledge in our system.”

Goalkeeper Thibault Courtois, who made a record nine saves in a 1-0 win over Liverpool in the Champions League final, said the win only spurred him on to prepare for another win.

“When you win a couple of trophies, it’s like an adrenaline rush to keep winning,” he said. “That feeling of winning trophies and important trophies is something you want to replicate.”

Playing in the US is something you want to repeat,” said Courtois, whose most recent summer tour here was in 2019. Real Madrid had scheduled a US tour for 2020 that included a friendly against Barcelona, ​​which the organizers hoped to play at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. but canceled due to COVID-19.

“I love going to the States,” said Courtois, who played 90 minutes last weekend against Barcelona in Las Vegas in a 1-0 loss before missing out on a 2-2 draw with América in San Francisco. on Tuesday. “Being able to go there again in a few years due to COVID is great.”

Ancelotti called it “responsibility”.

“Real has fans all over the world. “We are doing everything we can to please our supporters in the United States.”

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.


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