Champions League final: Di María's Lisbon deja vu

The Paris forward tells UEFA.com he is dreaming of a second European title win in the Portuguese capital.

Ángel Di María celebrates scoring against Real Madrid on matchday 1
Ángel Di María celebrates scoring against Real Madrid on matchday 1 Icon Sport via Getty Images

The nerves are sure to be jangling during Sunday's UEFA Champions League final at the Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica, but at least one player will feel right at home. Paris Saint-Germain forward Ángel Di María paraded his talents at the ground for three seasons as a Benfica player – before returning there to help Real Madrid win the 2014 Champions League decider.

Man of the match against Atlético Madrid that night, the 32-year-old Argentinian international now has another date with destiny. Having struck three times and provided six assists during Paris's run to the final, he will be a key figure as the French club look to secure a historic first European title against Bayern München.

On potentially lifting the trophy in Lisbon again

Can Di María dominate Lisbon again?
Can Di María dominate Lisbon again?

It would be very special, very important for me and my career. When they changed the venue to Lisbon, I had a strange feeling in my body that reminded me of the old times when I lived here for three years and how happy I was in Lisbon during those years.

Then, to be able to get to a final and make history with a club like Paris – reaching their first final – and because I won it in 2014 with Real Madrid in the same stadium ... And to also have the chance to play the quarters and semis at the Estádio da Luz, as well as the final ... It's been a great combination for me, it's felt really great.

On Paris's development

I've always been part of an incredible squad, from the moment I arrived [in 2015]. We've had amazing groups of players, but sometimes things don't work out for one reason or another. This time, not only me but everyone at the club can tell you there's a great atmosphere – there's a good energy among the people working at the club, the players, the coaching staff, the medical team, everyone.

There's been an incredible atmosphere since the beginning of the year and I think that's the reason for everything we've won: the league, the two cups [French Cup and League Cup] and the Super Cup at the start of the season. We're one step away from finishing an incredible year, but it's a difficult step because Bayern are a tough team. I'm sure this will be a great final.

On facing Bayern München

Paris v Bayern: Their previous meetings
Paris v Bayern: Their previous meetings

They're tough, they're a really well-organised team, and I think this will be their 11th European Cup final. It won't be easy at all. They have very experienced players, players who've won World Cups, players who play at a very high level. We'll try to do our best like we've been doing this whole time.

We'll keep doing the same thing. We know they have amazing players, players in incredible form, but we also have good players, our own system, our own way of playing, and I think we have a group that deserves to win the Champions League.

On coach Thomas Tuchel

He's a great coach. The most important thing for him as a coach is the group. He's assembled a nice squad and that's what has enabled us to reach the final and win all the competitions we've won. Reaching the Champions League final means he's done really well with the squad.

It's normal that there are some players who are not so happy when they don't play, but I think he's always tried to make everyone play in the best possible way. The club trusted him after last season, when we only won the league and we lost the other two competitions and got eliminated by Manchester United. The club knew he could do it.

On the importance of a first European title for Paris

Watch every Paris goal on their road to the final
Watch every Paris goal on their road to the final

It's a special feeling. I saw that after winning the semi-final, with the videos of people in Paris – on the Champs-Élysées, at the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe. I think it's very special for all Parisians. It's something the club had been trying to achieve for years: to make it to a Champions League final. I think the time has come.

If we win it for the first time with Paris, we'll become part of the club's history. We'd always be remembered at the club because it would be the first European title. I won Real Madrid's tenth title, which the club couldn't win for years, and winning that tenth title was something amazing for Madrid – and I became part of the club's history. Winning a first title here would be unforgettable for me personally, because that's been my goal since I joined.