We’ll never know whether he did it on purpose or his private parts were actually itching; only he knows. The Argentinian has stated it was a coincidence, and Carlo Ancelotti has excused him saying “we all make mistakes.”
I personally think Di Maria’s gesture was intentional. Of course, that behaviour was totally inappropriate. But, as Ancelotti said, it was one mistake. Florentino Perez should be more worried about Santiago Bernabeu fans behaviour, because it is also inappropriate and it happens game after game.
Bernabeu’s crowd is one of the most disrespectful in international football. Would you imagine Old Trafford fans booing Alex Ferguson? Totally insane right? Well, at the former Chamartin, Vicente del Bosque has been jeered at after a 1-5 loss against Zaragoza, Carlo Ancelotti was booed after just two months in charge and even Raul Gonzalez received some whistles in his last years at Real.
Spanish football fans, and especially those from Madrid, crossed the line between being critical and being disrespectful a long time ago. They can glorify a player one week –as it happened with Di Maria at the start of the season– and crucify him the following just because he had a bad day at work. I’m sure they would change their behaviour if a group of people came into their offices to jeer at them every time they have a bad day in their jobs.
Bernabeu’s case is the clearest example that good manners have been totally lost in football. Fans think they can behave the way the want just because they have paid their ticket. Would you imagine people booing and throwing bottles at the end of a theatre play? Well, maybe in the 15th century, but nowadays, even if you’ve paid your ticket and you didn’t like the show, you clap politely or simply stand up and leave. You can later give your opinion and recommend people not to pay for it, but you’ve never think of humiliating the actors just because you didn’t like their work.
Sport is just another spectacle, like theatre or cinema. But for whatever strange reason, some of them, such as football, have turned into a place for fans to vent their frustrations and anger.
A month ago Bernabeu’s victim was Benzema, now it’s Di Maria, and next month it will probably be Pepe. As I said, the Argentinian’s behaviour was wrong, but it has happened once in his career. Sadly, people will possibly remember this more than all his sacrifice and effort in his years at Madrid.
If Real Madrid want to become the great and solemn club they have always claimed to be, they should start teaching Bernabeu’s crowd some respect. Florentino Perez has made a good start by kicking the Ultras Sur out, but there’s also a little radical fan inside many people not sitting on the south stands. They could certainly use a good manners lesson.