Few sportsmen can say they managed to define an era. James Hunt, who was born on this day 69 years ago, could definitely stake a claim to this.
Long-haired and with a free spirit which defined the continuing cultural revolution of the 1970s, he easily fulfilled the image of the galavanting racing driver living day-to-day in an adrenaline-fuelled sport which still proved fatal to many.
Hunt’s finest hour came at McLaren when he lifted the 1976 World Drivers’ Championship, during a season in which great rival Niki Lauda nearly died.
Hunt would retire three years later, becoming a commentator for BBC Sport prior to his premature death cause by a heart attack aged just 45 in 1993.
The life of “Hunt the Shunt” proved just as dramatic off the circuit, with his exploits being documented in 2013’s “Rush”.
More sports personalities born on this day:
1945: Wyomia Tyus, American, who in 1968 became the first sprinter to retain the women’s 100m Olympic title. (71)
1977: Devean George, retired shooting guard who won three NBA Championships at the Los Angeles Lakers. (39)
1982: Vincent Enyeama, Nigeria’s most-capped international player and goalkeeper for Lille. (34)
1992: Noah Syndergaard, baseball pitcher for New York Mets and 2016 All-Star. (24)
But the free-flowing winger’s time at Old Trafford didn’t quite go to plan.
Having been given the club’s famed No.7 jersey, much was expected from the Argentine – who had just enjoyed a stellar campaign at Real Madrid.
And he started off well – netting on his Premier League debut against Queens Park Rangers and winning the club’s September Player of the Month award.
Di Maria’s fine form continued into October before injury ruled him out until the new year.
Upon his return, the winger struggled for form and he was sent off in the FA Cup home defeat against Arsenal and subsequently sold by Louis van Gaal to French champions Paris Saint-Germain last season.
Should Di Maria have been given more time at Old Trafford? Let us know your thoughts, use #360fans on Twitter and Facebook.
Here’s some other sporting events and stories that happened on this day:
1972: The most tragic Olympic Games opened in Munich. The Games were to be marred by the deaths of 11 Israeli athletes at the hands of terrorists.
2000: After being sent off twice in three days, Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira ended the week on a high with two goals in a 5-3 win over Charlton.
2004: American Shawn Crawford won 200 metres gold at the Olympics in Athens.
2007: American Tyson Gay won the gold medal in the men’s 100 metres final at the World Athletics Championships in Osaka.
2008: England claimed a 10-wicket victory in the second one-day international against South Africa at Trent Bridge. They went on to win the series 4-0.
2009: Sir David Murray announced he was to step down as a board director and chairman of Rangers.
2011: QPR completed the signing of Newcastle midfielder Joey Barton on a four-year contract.
2015: Kenyans Joyce Zakary and Koki Manunga were the first athletes to fail drugs tests at the World Championships in Beijing.
West Indies fast bowler Tino Best turns 35 and he has spent his 2016 summer playing county cricket with Hampshire.
The Barbados-born star last represented the Windies in 2014 and has played in 25 Tests, 26 one-day internationals and six T20 matches.
At his peak, Best was capable of bowling as fast as 92mph and in 2012 he made history by scoring the then highest score by a number 11 batsman, smashing 95 against England at Edgbaston.
He was also involved in the now infamous sledging row at Lord’s with Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff.
Here are the other sporting stars who are celebrating their birthdays:
1954: Howard Clark – English golfer who played in six Ryder Cups (62).
1962: Roger Kingdom – Olympic 110 metres hurdles champion in 1984 and 1988 (54).
1963: David Byas – former Yorkshire cricket captain and coach (53).
1968: Chris Boardman – 1992 Olympic pursuit cycling champion (48).
1971: Nicky Summerbee – former Manchester City and Sunderland winger (45).
1986: Colin Kazim-Richards – London-born Turkey and Coritiba forward (29).