After he led his club into the final of the Uefa Champions League for the first time, Angel Di Maria said Tuesday he will find it difficult to sleep and hoped the form can continue in the final.
By scoring a goal and assisting one in Paris Saint-Germain’s 3-0 victory over RB Leipzig, the Argentine attacker was the star of the night.
Di Maria claimed his side’s second goal, which came between headed strikes from Marquinhos and Juan Bernat, in a fixture played in a near-empty Estadio da Luz in Lisbon due to the coronavirus pandemic.
PSG will face either Bayern Munich or Lyon in their first ever appearance at a Champions League final.
“It’s going to be hard to sleep tonight with the final on my mind,” Di Maria told broadcasters RMC Sport.
“We’re very happy. The team worked well, we succeeded in taking PSG to the final. Now we’re in the final which is important for us and if we continue like today then it will help us for the final,” he added.
The semi-finals included two sides each from Ligue 1 and Germany’s Bundesliga and Di Maria said it underlined the standard of both competitions.
“We have proven French and German leagues are high quality, same level as other leagues and we have to keep doing what we have been,” he said.
Di Maria won the competition with Real Madrid in the Portuguese capital in 2014 and compared his current side with the Spanish giants.
“It was incredible. We also have a good level not just individuals but the whole squad it’s not always spectacular but the squad is quality because whoever plays, the level never drops,” he said.
“We’re just one step from making history for the club, getting to a final is historic but we can go further still,” he added.
Looking forward to the final, PSG superstar Kylian Mbappe hoped Lyon will beat Bayern Munich in their Champions League semi-final on Wednesday and set up an all-French final.
“I’d prefer Lyon for sure, because they are a French team,” Mbappe said when asked if he had a preferred opponent.
“It will be a very tough game. If it’s Bayern, fine, but if it were Lyon it would certainly make it a very special occasion.”
PSG are the first French side through to the final of the Champions League since Monaco in 2004.
They would perhaps not be favourites in a final against Bayern, but they certainly would be against Lyon.
PSG won the Ligue 1 title while Lyon came seventh in a season that was curtailed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The teams met as recently as the end of July in the French League Cup final, with PSG winning on penalties after a 0-0 draw.
Mbappe missed that game because of an ankle injury, suffered in the French Cup final against Saint-Etienne a week earlier.
- Emotional injury -
However, he returned to play a key role off the bench in the 2-1 quarter-final win over Atalanta last week and started against Leipzig.
“The truth is that the night I got my injury against Saint-Etienne I thought that was it, that I wouldn’t come back” for the Champions League ‘Final Eight’, he said.
“I cried all night, but the next morning I woke up and said to myself that I would do everything I could, get treatment all day and come home and get more treatment.
“I knew the team would need me at some point, maybe not for my physical presence on the field but also being around the team and showing them I was ok.
“I never wanted them to see that I was suffering. It was a difficult time but it was a real pleasure to come back against Atalanta and help the team qualify today.”
Mbappe, 21, admitted he is still not back to peak fitness.
“I feel good, better and better all the time, but I still have to wear a heavy strapping around it.
“There is no more pain. I still need to take certain precautions but I am ready to help the team, give everything on the pitch. All I want is to win, that’s why I came here.”