The ‘Noodle’ has broken again with Angel Di Maria injured during a third consecutive major tournament playing for Argentina at the end of a busy club season.
Di Maria, nicknamed Fideo (noodle) for his thin frame, is out of the Copa America Centenario after a groin injury during Friday’s 5-0 win over Panama in Chicago and unlikely to play again unless Argentina reach the June 26 final.
He missed the 2014 World Cup final in Brazil after a muscle tear during the quarterfinal against Belgium and he injured a hamstring early in the 2015 Copa America final in Chile.
“During the match against Panama, Angel Di Maria felt pain on the inside of his right thigh, with tests showing a minor tear in the adductor,” the Argentine FA said in a statement on its website (www.afa.org.ar).
Di Maria is one of Argentina’s best attacking players and will be sorely missed in the knockout phase which Argentina have reached with a match to spare before their last Group D game against Bolivia in Seattle on Tuesday.
Argentine media reported, citing team sources, that the Paris Saint-Germain winger, a non-stop runner noted for his busy tracking down the wings and pinpoint crosses, would be out at least until the semifinals.
Di Maria, who had scored his 17th Argentina goal in their opening 2-1 victory over Chile, came off before half-time in the win over Panama, having provided the cross for Nicolas Otamendi’s early goal.
Lionel Messi, returning from a back injury, came on after an hour and scored a hat-trick, his fourth for Argentina and first in a competitive match.