Following a rocky start to the campaign, Angel Di Maria’s free transfer to Juventus was put under great scrutiny, and perhaps rightfully so. The veteran couldn’t stay away from the treatment table, while his reckless blunder against Monza added insult to injury.

Nonetheless, a World Cup medal can do wonders for a player’s morale – even for someone who has collected trophies everywhere he went.

Since the turn of the new year, Di Maria has undoubtedly established himself as the main talisman at Juventus. His stupendous display in Nantes was only the latest testament to the prowess of the ageless star.

But the most curious aspect of the veteran’s current exploits is his playing position. The former Benfica man is, on all accounts, one of the finest wingers of his generation.

So how did he end up excelling as an attacking midfielder, almost operating in a free role – a Trequartista if you will?

Some will regard it as a masterstroke from Max Allegri, while others will call it an inadvertent discovery born out of desperation.

But regardless of the manager’s role, the player’s splendid performances in his newly-adopted position have become one of the most exciting stories in an otherwise miserable campaign in Turin plagued by issues on and off the pitch.

So while witnessing the Argentine’s fabulous display in France, one might have wondered how his career would have unfolded had he acted as the main reference point for his club and country throughout the course of his career.

Yes, Di Maria has always been appreciated by the supporters, the purists, and the analysts, however, he spent his career acting as a glorified sidekick for the biggest superstars in the game. While Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the most prominent examples, we can extend the list by adding the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Neymar, and Kylian Mbappé.

Now surely there’s nothing wrong about a vastly talented footballer acting as a winger. After all, Messi and Ronaldo themselves are often positioned in wide positions on paper.

However, the GOAT nominees have often been exempted from defensive duties, while Di Maria always had to track back and insert himself into the second defensive line. Moreover, the 35-year-old could never become a reference point while playing beside these superstars, instead, he was always deemed to be an excellent addition to the supporting crew.

Telling whether Di Maria lost more than what he gained while serving as a sidekick remains a matter of debate. After all, his top-notch teammates surely helped him pick up a trophy or two.

Nonetheless, the 2014 Champions League final is arguably the best depiction of his career. The current Juventus man was arguably the man of the match, leading Real Madrid towards the famous Decima achievement.

On the other hand, Ronaldo – who wasn’t enjoying his finest outing – added the fourth goal from the spot against an already-scattered Atletico side. The Portuguese took his shirt off and delivered his trademark celebration, and guess whose six-pack was on every front page in the next morning.

In conclusion, Di Maria earned great recognition for his career achievements, but he remains somewhat overlooked. He surely collected vast amounts of cash, but one might argue that has been relatively underpaid.

At this point, we’re still unsure if this veteran can stay fit for the rest of the campaign, and his future beyond June remains shrouded with mystery.

Nevertheless, the black-and-white version of Di Maria is simply picturesque, so let’s enjoy it while it lasts.