|Org||Spain National Team|
|Club as Player||Manchester United|
2016 03 Retrieve
[Juan Mata, in his weekly blog for Kicca.com] I consider him [Cruyff] the ideological father of the football; the one I try to play like and the one I look to learn from as a spectator whenever I watch a game. The intelligent use of the ball and the spaces, the importance of talent over the physical condition and the understanding of football as a team sport are concepts that I definitely endorse
2016 04 30 Retrieve
[Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata on business side of football] I don’t enjoy the business side of football. I love the game. I love training and competing. I’d take a pay cut if there was less business involvement in the sport. Football is very well remunerated at this level. It’s like we live in a bubble. Compared to the rest of society, we earn a ridiculous amount. It’s unfathomable. With respect to the world of football, I earn a normal wage. But compared to 99.9 per cent of Spain and the rest of the world, I earn a silly amount
2017 02 18 Retrieve
[Juan Mata writes about his unique goal celebration in a 2-0 win over Watford in his blog] It was a nice collective play that I was able to finish with my left foot, while my right boot was coming off. When I run to celebrate the goal with my team-mates, the boot was already off … so I just took it and threw it in the air. You don’t really know what you’re doing when you score
2017 04 08 Retrieve
[Juan Mata tells about his eating habits] When I first arrived in England, I didn’t have very high expectations about English food because everyone told me that it’s not so good, or whatever. English people and English food is very English, they feel very proud of their food and routines. On Sundays, I like to try Sunday roast and I really like pie - beef pie. The one thing I didn’t like that is very famous is the fish and chips. It’s very famous but it’s a bit oily. I like to go to English countryside pubs, where they have homemade food and I really enjoy it – so I cannot complain about English food. And that’s not a fake answer, it’s a real one!
2017 08 05 Retrieve
[Juan Mata speaks about Common Goal, an initiative he’s leading to encourage the football community to donate 1 per cent of their earnings to charity] One of the first lessons I learned in football is that it takes a team to accomplish your dreams. We live by this mantra on the pitch, yet we don’t see it enough in the social space. Common Goal is creating a collaborative way for football to give back to society. It’s the most effective and sustainable way that football can deliver long-term social impact on a global scale. Football has the power to do this, but we need to act together
2017 10 26 Retrieve
[Kagawa the latest to join Mata’s Common Goal] Shinji knows a thing or two about being first. He was the first player from Japan to play at Manchester United and then the first to win the Premier League
2019 11 08 Retrieve
[Juan Mata admits Anthony Martial made the right decision in ignoring him during Manchester United’s 3-0 Europa League win over Partizan Belgrade] I was asking for the pass during the whole play! But obviously he made the right decision to go by himself. He’s a great player. Great goal. I enjoy playing with him a lot. He gives you the ball and goes into the space. He’s a top player. If he hits top form he is very, very important for us. It is very important for Marcus (Rashford) and for Anthony, Mason Greenwood and Daniel James that they score goals and for us in midfield we try to help with assist and creating chances and that is what we did
[All three of United’s forwards were on the scoresheet against Partizan, with Rashford wrapping up a convincing win] It is important for them for their confidence and their numbers and important for us too. We could have scored even more. We had chances to score four or five goals but the evening was a good result. The more players who score, the better for us
[The hope at Old Trafford is that a clinical performance in Europe will provide a domestic spark] Especially in the first half we played good football. We scored three goals and could have scored even more. So it was a good night and hopefully the fans enjoyed it. It is easier when you score early and score two or three goals in the first half you play more confidently, you have more spaces and you don’t feel tired when you are winning and you can run and run and pass and move. We enjoyed the first half especially, I certainly did. It was a positive night which we will try to replicate a performance like that on Sunday against Brighton
2019 12 12 Retrieve
[Aged just 18 years and 72 days, Mason Greenwood has become the youngest Manchester United player to score a brace for the club in a major European competition] Every time he plays, he scores. In training, he might not touch the ball a lot but he is a finisher and a killer in the box. He is a nice kid and I’m very happy for him
2020 01 11 Retrieve
[Juam Mata calls for consistency after crushing Norwich] It was very good performance. Very good response to our last defeat. We played great football today. We enjoyed it on the pitch, found some nice spaces. Today is a good example of how I believe we should play on a more consistent basis. There are more teams that will fight to get that [Champions League] position. Chelsea is going to earn points so we must focus on our results
[Mata’s outing against the Canaries saw him handed a rare Premier League start] It is frustrating when I don’t play. I am still hungry to help my team with goals and assists. Like every player, when I don’t play I am not happy. But I have to always be available for the team
2020 02 22 Retrieve
[Mata expecting big things from Man Utd new boys] We welcomed them both. Bruno Fernandes is a very good player, we all know that, and a very nice guy also. We have been in contact a lot. He speaks Spanish mixed with Portuguese which is not very different. So he’s a good guy and I think he’s settling in very well. He’s found his place in Manchester [to live] and also with the help of Fred, Andreas and Diogo [Dalot] he’s enjoying it. They’ve helped him a lot. Hopefully he can help us in this second part of the season and I’m sure he will because he’s a quality player.
Odion Ighalo has experience of playing in the Premier League and hopefully he will score many goals for us from now until the end of the season, and, as the manager said, he’s a good character as well and he’s got a good personality which has fitted straight into the dressing room. The better he does, then the better for us – and I wish him all the best
2020 03 13 Retrieve
[Juan Mata says that he and Bruno Fernandes have already built up a strong relationship at Manchester United based on their shared understanding of the game] It’s great to have Bruno in the team, and also Odion who is scoring in almost every single game that he plays. They’re great guys, and we’re very happy now with them in the team. I think we [me and Fernandes] understand football in the same way. We like to play the same way, passing and moving and giving lines. We like playing with each other and looking for our forwards in behind like we did with Dan today and with Odion, who scored a fantastic goal also
I don’t remember playing behind closed doors before so, of course, it was a different game. It feels strange. It’s like training, when you play a game in training, there’s no crowd and it felt a little bit the same. But of course, your mind is in a competitive mood and you know that it is an official game so we did what we were asked to do, which is to play in these circumstances. We need to act accordingly and trust in the experts and perform like we did today. I think we did really well when you look at the score and the performance. It was not easy in the beginning because LASK are a team that press a lot. We didn’t have our best game in terms of passing and controlling, and it wasn’t easy on that pitch with this ball, but at the end of the day we scored five goals, we are happy and ready to come back to Manchester. I would say it was a very professional performance so, of course, winning 5-0, we can say that we had a very good first leg. But when we play at Old Trafford we will try to win the game again and play good and try to score and try to enjoy our football like we did today
2020 03 21 Retrieve
[Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata: Stay calm and trust the experts on coronavirus] We are coping okay. We are obviously in the house, trying to get fit, trying to train however we can, doing some exercise in the house and trying to stay fit, patient and calm. Being patient and calm is the only thing we can do now. We have to wait and trust the experts until we can play football again
2020 03 23 Retrieve
[Juan Mata reveals his key role inside the Man Utd dressing room] I feel young, honestly, in my body and mind. But obviously I have being playing in a club, and in English football and professionally for 12, 13 years now. So that gives me experience, especially in difficult situations, to behave in a certain way or give advice to the young players. I think he (Solskjaer) values that also. Me as a player, what I can give on the pitch, but also that I will try my best off the pitch for the new players that come, like right now Bruno [Fernandes] and Odion [Igahlo] and for the youngsters that come through the academy like Brandon [Williams], Chongy [Tahith Chong], Angel [Gomes] and Jimmy [Garner].
David de Gea always tells me when he arrived here, I think they lost the Premier League by one point in the first season but in the second season they won. He told me it was incredible. And everything was red and it was just unbelievable. I’m counting the days to be able to do that. I would love to win it and of course I want to win it before I finish playing. Maybe I will play until my 50s if needed, but if I don’t win it, it’s alright also. You know I’m not really obsessed about it, it would be very nice to have won almost everything
2020 03 25 Retrieve
[Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata has opened up on his first meeting with Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford] I arrive in the room and it was him, Ryan Giggs and a bottle of Rioja, red wine, with three glasses. He was like: ‘Do you want a drink?’ and I was: ‘No, no, I’m fine’. He had a drink and said: ‘Tell me who you are’. I mean my name is Juan, I am 26, I play football. ‘No, no. Tell me who you are as a man. Do you have family? What do you find important in life? From that moment, he can look scary face to face and sometimes goes close to you but, after that, he was a very warm and genuine man. He was more than a football manager with tactics, he is a great human being and I learned a lot from him.
[Mata added on how Van Gaal often became emotional when discussing his core values] He was scary. I tell you. He was a very nice man; a very, very nice man; very genuine and very sensible. You wouldn’t expect that but he was very sensible. He could get emotional and was crying sometimes, when he was speaking about important matters. When he found the right values, the right football, he got emotional
2020 03 29 Retrieve
[Juan Mata says Solskjaer has Manchester United DNA and brings positivity] Of course, I heard much about him as a player. About that goal, about the many goals. So we had a meeting between us, the team, and they said: ‘Listen, it’s probable that Ole’s going to come. He’s going to take care of the team until the end of the season. He’s coming from Molde in Norway’. As soon as he came in, you could see the positivity. You could see the Man United DNA. He knew everyone, he felt like a proper United fan, and he was happy and smiley and full of energy. So we stay with him, and I think that’s a good sign of things going okay.
The respect is mutual, and we never had any personal problem. The situation was a football situation. He played in a certain way that maybe didn’t suit perfectly my qualities as a player, and that’s it. Sometimes it happens in football. But my mentality [when Mourinho joined United] was: ‘Okay, I’m going to try’. My family was a bit scared. The fans were telling me, ‘What are you going to do?’ But I had it clear in my mind that I’m going to stay and prove that I can play much more than people think, and I did. And it’s one of the things that I feel very proud of in my career: having made that decision, testing myself and keeping going and playing, at the end, the Carabao Cup final, the Europa League final, and feeling an important player in the squad. That’s how I felt before, and how I felt with him.
2020 04 06 Retrieve
[Juan Mata has named Marcus Rashford as the biggest talent he has seen come through Manchester United’s academy] Obviously the first one who comes to my mind is Marcus, Marcus Rashford. Everyone knows that he is a special player and I have to admit that in the first training that he did with us in the first team, it was Louis van Gaal that was our manager, and after the training, we did a little game and he was playing on the right side, and, after everything finished, Ander Herrera came to me and said: ‘Do you see this player? How good he is? He will be a player for us’. He realised straight away. After one training session, Ander knew that this guy was something special. Of course, after that, he was very determined since the first moment he played with us, scoring very quickly, many goals and, of course, for his country also. I think he is probably the most special player that has come through in my time here, through the academy
I just chant his song, which is ‘Bruno, Bruno’ every morning when I see him, so I think he’s happy with my morning welcome. He is a great guy; we have become very close and he’s obviously a great player. He’s done great.
It’s a difficult question. Some days, yes; some days, no. Some days, yes because I love football - you can train to play in a certain way, you can train to develop players and make them reach their highest level. I like many parts of the game and what happens on the pitch, but on the other side, your life is constantly questioned and the demands are so high because it all depends on whether the ball goes into the goal and you can win, or not
2020 04 08 Retrieve
[Manchester United player Juan Mata has urged footballers across the world to do more to try and help with the fight against the coronavirus] It’s been heartening to see many positive responses from players and other football leaders to the current crisis, but it can be also hard to know what to do to help effectively those who need it most. We are suffering a stark reminder of how interdependent we all are. To overcome coronavirus, and the other challenges facing humanity, we need to coordinate individual efforts and work together as a team. I’m urging not only my Common Goal teammates, but also all other players and football leaders from around the world to unite and help tackle this crisis, and at the same time use this as a catalyst to play a key role in tackling the other challenges humanity faces. Together we can beat this.
2020 04 10 Retrieve
[Mata praises Sancho amid Man Utd links] What do you want me to say? We all know that he’s a great player. He’s having a fantastic season at Borussia, but you know it’s not my responsibility to speak about those things. Of course, I like him as a player but I cannot reply to that
[While Mata would seemingly be open to Sancho’s arrival, he’s focus has been on helping out during the ongoing health crisis] It’s been heartening to see many positive responses from players and other football leaders to the current crisis, but it can be also hard to know what to do to help effectively those who need it most. We are suffering a stark reminder of how interdependent we all are. To overcome coronavirus, and the other challenges facing humanity, we need to coordinate individual efforts and work together as a team. I’m urging not only my Common Goal teammates, but also all other players and football leaders from around the world to unite and help tackle this crisis, and at the same time use this as a catalyst to play a key role in tackling the other challenges humanity faces. Together we can beat this
2020 04 13 Retrieve
[Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata says ex-Chelsea star Eden Hazard was the best player in the Premier League] The best Premier League player, I mean, I used to love to play with, and against, Eden Hazard. For me, for many years, he was the best in the league. He could win games by himself. I used to train with him and I know how good he can be. He has been very unlucky in his time with Real Madrid with some injuries, but I’m sure he’ll show his real level when he’s fit to do that and he’s not injured. Other than him, we’ve had many players. You can speak about the history of the Premier League and you can maybe put some of my ex-team-mates like Wayne Rooney - he has to be up there. Ryan Giggs has to be up there, and Paul Scholes. My ex-team-mates from Chelsea: [Frank] Lampard, [John] Terry, [Didier] Drogba. It’s very difficult to pick one
My best friend at United is David. David de Gea and that’s also an obvious one. We were friends before we were playing together in the club. Ander [Herrera] was a very big friend, and still is, but now from afar. But, to be honest with the people that we have been playing with for more years, like Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, now that he is on loan but [he’s a] very, very nice guy. I do miss [Herrera] on the pitch but also in the dressing room and outside. We were living in the same area. We were seeing each other after training for lunch, dinner, to watch football together, so of course I miss him. He’s a very good friend. I’m still in touch with him very often. He’s very happy in Paris. When you understand football in the same way, I think it’s enjoyable to play with someone like him or with someone like Bruno [Fernandes] now. You always miss them when you don’t play with people like this
2020 04 17 Retrieve
[Juan Mata says Michael Carrick would have been more appreciated in Spain] The first one that comes to mind is Michael Carrick, because I had a chance to play with him for a long time. I know how important he is for a team. From my point of view, he didn’t have the media talking about him, or even the fans speaking about his importance, but it was just a joy to play alongside him. As an attacking football player, when you have Michael in behind, you know he’s going to find you. Wherever you move, he’s going to find you. I joke with him, calling him the quarterback of a football team because you make the movement and the ball is going to fall into your run. It’s not going into your feet but into your run, exactly what you want, to control it and keep going. Sometimes, people don’t appreciate that enough and also defensively. People could have said he was not the most aggressive one but he was very intelligent. He didn’t need to be so aggressive. He’d read before where the ball was going to go and made the recovery. For me, he was a fantastic midfielder and, for some times of his career, he was underrated or underappreciated - in the national team and for the club.
[The United playmaker went on to express his belief that Carrick’s talents would have been valued more highly in Spain] Because of the way he plays, this type of player is very appreciated in Spain. He probably would have been bigger than he actually was here
2020 05 22 Retrieve
[Juan Mata is determined to remain at Manchester United for years to come] It feels like it has gone very quickly, it feels like time flies. I didn’t know it was going to be my 250th game, but I feel proud. When you play your first game you feel like you are in a new beginning, a very exciting moment in your life playing for this club. I don’t want to stop here, I want to keep going and going, and keep adding games in a United shirt.
I have to start with the day I arrived and the way I arrived in helicopter. It was unforgettable. David Moyes was welcoming me to the club, De Gea was also waiting there. After that, my debut, we played against Cardiff with Ole as Cardiff manager so that’s always forever in my memory
My first goal was against Aston Villa, at the Stretford End. It was a messy goal, not very beautiful, but I think it was eight or nine games without scoring for the club so it was very important for me. The goal in the FA Cup final against Crystal Palace, we were losing and it was almost the end of the game, so when I scored I was also happy in that I helped the team to win. The game at Anfield, I always come back to it, why not? The Europa League final as well, I enjoy thinking about them, and hopefully many more to come
2020 06 04 Retrieve
[Mata admits he still isn’t used to playing for Manchester United] The feeling of being a player at Manchester United is really special and almost unique in football. At times it seems surreal that in the morning I put on that shirt to train, that I play in the stadium where players like Eric Cantona, George Best, David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes have played. People I watched from a long way away as a kid and especially that generation of Beckham, Scholes, Giggs and now I’m playing in their team and I’m so proud of that