Ángel Di María spent Tuesday trying to put out fires ignited on Monday, with the Argentine winger’s momentary adjustment to the front of his shorts having sparked controversy in the wake of Real Madrid’s 3-0 win over Celta de Vigo. Though 25-year-old has issued an apology through the club’s website for any misunderstandings, Real Madrid has still opened an investigation into what’s being called a crotch-grab, with many seeing the gesture as targeting the Santiago Bernabéu’s crowd.
“I didn’t make any gestures to anyone,” Di María said in a post-match radio interview. “I was simply making myself comfortable.”
“Anybody else does that, nobody notices,” the Real winger said in a separate radio interview, “but if I do it, it’s front page news.”
Di María went on to blame part of the controversy on the Spanish press, citing his reluctance to do interviews as a potential motive for portraying Monday’s gesture in a negative light.
According to Marca, Real Madrid isn’t exactly buying Di María’s investigation, with the club already considering sanction against their winger should they decide the action was malicious.
Di María’s reaction has not gone down at all well at the club, however, and so it is hoped that the disciplinary procedure will sort out what happened. Di María could receive a financial sanction if the club decides that he made an offensive gesture to the Bernabéu fans.
One day after the gesture, Di María took a more conciliatory tone. From the club’s website:
“I did not plan to do anything aimed at the fans or the manager; it was something normal, but if there is anyone who was offended by this, I apologize …”
“The truth is that if anyone was offended by it I apologise, but it is like I have said. I made a natural movement which was not aimed at anyone in particular. On the TV you can see that it is a fraction of a second. It is nothing. I did not spend a long time deliberately doing it …“
The explanation matches the video (available at Marca), but there’s also enough there for a more cynical observer to read see something malicious in the gesture. That’s why Di María welcomes the club’s investigation:
“I think it is the right thing to do. Not just for them, who have started the investigation, but also for me as it means I can explain the situation and what happened, as I have also already explained to several Argentine radio stations. I think it is good as I can talk to them directly and explain what happened on the pitch”.
Aside from being able to read Di María’s mind, it’s unclear how you’d go about such an investigation. Maybe you could subject him to a lie detector test, but that seems disproportionate. Short of a confession, whomever is conducting the process will be left treating film of yesterday’s substitution as if it were taken on the grassy knoll.
Zooming in, slowing down, considering all the detail of a momentary crotch-grab? Whoever has that task in their job description should consider finding another line of work.