|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 Kagawa 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 07 21 Retrieve
[Juan Mata is targeting improvement at Manchester United this season] We know that last season wasn’t good enough. So we need to improve, we need to try our best in this upcoming season. What we have to do is raise our level and compete and let’s see where we end up. You know, the level in the Premier League is getting better every single year. All the clubs have been bringing (in) very good players, so we need to try to be at our best
[Mata is focused on the club’s pre-season fixtures ahead at the moment] Tottenham is going to be tough, [AC Milan] is going to be tough. So we still have a few difficult games but [we planned] to use these games to get ready for the Chelsea game, which is our first official game, and that’s the important one and the one that we have to be ready to win
2019 07 22 Retrieve
[Juan Mata hopes David de Gea and Paul Pogba will both ignore ongoing transfer rumours to remain at Manchester United] We all know Paul and he is a fantastic midfielder, and a very good guy, very positive, and a good influence for everyone. I think he is happy and brings everyone together, but I cannot speak for other people - I speak for myself. As a team-mate and a friend I would like him to stay and be happy because he is a very good player for us
[Mata then praised fellow-countryman De Gea, who has reportedly attracted attention from Paris Saint Germain during the summer transfer window] David is the best goalkeeper in the world and one of my best friends so I want him to stay. On a professional level, it would be great if he stays because he will give us many points over the next season, so I’m very happy if he stays
2019 07 22b Retrieve
[Juan Mata says everyone at Manchester United is determined to win big trophies again] We know we have to do better than last season. This club has won more trophies than any other club in England. The feeling of being a Manchester United player is so unique. I am very happy to stay here. I am dreaming about winning big trophies at this club. That is what the fans deserve. We want to win big trophies again. That is what the history of this club deserves
[Mata said of the youngster, who netted the only goal of the game in an International Champions Cup clash with Inter on Saturday] Mason Greenwood has a lot of qualities and the most important one is his mentality. He’s hungry to improve and to give his all for the team. We are very happy he’s finding his feet in the first team and gaining confidence. I am sure he’ll score many goals for this club
2019 08 03 Tweet
[Manchester United defender Luke Shaw has used social media to defend himself after Romelu Lukaku leaked squad data suggesting he was the slowest player at Old Trafford. Following a tweet from Juan Mata to Lukaku that jokingly said] Thanks for finally showing the world that I’m quicker than Luke Shaw bro
2019 08 22 Retrieve
[Juan Mata has joined the fight against ‘cowardly’ individuals who racially abused Manchester United team-mate Paul Pogba on social media. Pogba was sent a series of racist messages after missing a penalty in the 1-1 draw with Wolves on Monday night] It’s not something we should be speaking about, because it should have been eradicated a long time ago. That’s one of the things about social media. It’s fantastic to connect people if you use it for the right things. But it also gives a chance for so many people to let go of their frustrations towards other people and with no problems because there are so many fake accounts. There’s no identity. Then you can say whatever you want and you are not punished. It’s a problem. Unfortunately some people do that and it needs to stop. It’s cowardly to do it that way because no one can see you. It’s not nice
[Mata has spoken of his delight at still being with the club following close season rumours of a move away from Old Trafford] I’m very happy to be here and very happy we have started the season. The [summer pre-season] tour [to Australia, China, Singapore and Wales] was a nice few weeks for all of us to be together. We are only starting, but we’re happy. I would be happier if we had six points. That’s what we felt after the Wolves game but the first game was very good against a good side [Chelsea]. We’ve got four points, but we’re looking forward to getting three more on Saturday [against Crystal Palace]. Every time that you start a new season there is excitement. We have a manager that everyone knows, he’s been around the club for many years and has done great things here. We are all very excited about what we can do. Hopefully we can have a great season and keep our fans happy and excited until the end of the season
2019 08 23 Retrieve
[Juan Mata has admitted that playing for a club with the history of Manchester United still feels surreal] When I was a kid in Spain I only ever wanted to be a professional football player. My dad was but he didn’t play in the first division and my only aim was to do that, to make my family proud. And then that came and many things after that and now I am at a club where David Beckham and Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Eric Cantona used to play and sometimes it feels surreal
We know that fans of this club have been used to winning and when you are in a period of change – Sir Alex leaving and different managers – and trying to win this Premier League title again which we haven’t won for six years then of course there is pressure from the fans, from the media and everywhere. But there is only one way you can deal with it and that is to face it and manage and cope with the pressure and I think you do that on a daily basis. If you do your routine right, if you train right, if you demand from each other then it will pay off and you will be able to handle it better. Also you need to realise who you are playing for.
You journalists speak more about United than other clubs, right? That’s something I realised from the first moment. If you see pundits on TV – a lot of ex-Man Utd players. If you see the newspapers there is always something on Man Utd. Even if it is a small story it is bigger because it’s Manchester United. The level of repercussion is crazy which makes you think even more on how united we have to be with the fans, club, players because you have that sense that everyone who does not support United is happy when United loses. That’s a fact
2019 08 27 Retrieve
[Juan Mata believes that, if they want to, football players should use their platform to speak out on societal issues] It’s a reality that there is a lot of money in football. And for me, the problem is not that. That’s not a problem at all because football generates a lot of things for the world, and a lot of passion and a lot of money. So it’s normal that something that big generates a lot of money. If we can use a part of that money to actually invest in football, but in a different kind of football, which is a social football, then I think it makes a lot of sense
I think there are still people that think, ‘Why is this football player speaking about all these things?’. Why not? That’s my point of view. Why not? I’m very happy to be a football player. I’m happy to have played many games and win some important trophies. I feel very privileged and lucky about that and hopefully I can win many more. But I think we are here to do, in a way, something else. When you’re in a profession like this, you have that responsibility in terms of so many people following you, so many people watching the game. Helping other people is probably more meaningful than scoring a goal in the final. If you can do something different, a different kind of goal, then much better
2019 09 13 Retrieve
[When asked for a message to the club’s fans] My message is always being grateful for what they give us. I understand their frustration when we don’t get the results they deserve, so I feel sorry for that. But what I can do, individually, and what we can do, as a team, is give our best. Fans recognise that. Over results, what they value is that a player gives everything and tries as much as he can, and that’s what I do and what my team-mates do. If we want to get our objectives, we need to stick together - managers, players and fans - because there’s many people on the outside enjoying it when Manchester United don’t win. It’s key for us to stick together as a whole
[They have dropped points against Wolves, Crystal Palace and Southampton, with high-flying Leicester next up at Old Trafford] We had a great start against Chelsea and a big result. After that, two difficult games away where we should have got more, but football is not about deserving – although I think if you constantly deserve, you’re going to finally get what you deserve. Especially at Southampton, we should have killed the game. Obviously, Crystal Palace at Old Trafford we cannot repeat. We cannot lose these kinds of games and know we have to improve
2019 09 19 Retrieve
[Juan Mata says Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is looking to emulate Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United] [Ole’s] philosophy comes from his experience as a player here. He played under Sir Alex Ferguson, possibly the greatest manager in history: a coach who could move with the times and continue to win, despite numerous changes to his squads. I think that’s what Ole is trying to achieve. He’s trying to turn United into the side they once were: an attacking team who always look to score; a team that wins trophies. Let’s hope that proves to be the case
[The Spain international added ahead of a continental opener against Astana on Thursday] It was the first time the club won this tournament and it was great to beat an Ajax side, who went on to be a great team in the following years. Whenever you win a European competition, it’s special. I hope I can win it for a third time
2019 09 24 Retrieve
[Juan Mata has admitted family and friends were concerned about Jose Mourinho’s arrival at Manchester United but the Spaniard didn’t have the same worries about his former coach] Louis was gone and rumours about José Mourinho being appointed as Manchester United’s new manager acquired a life of their own. A few days later, the rumours had become fact. Mourinho was my manager again. And, despite the concern of my family, friends and many people, I was determined to face the situation as I’d always tried to: positively. As expected, so many stories came out again in the press. I had no possible future at the club. I had already agreed to leave. Far too many people believed the information was true, again, and reached the conclusion that I had no future under him
Jose and I were together at Chelsea before, of course, and after having being together for sixth months, my career would take a different direction: Manchester. Yes, I didn’t enjoy as much playing time as I would have loved to or was used to during those sixth months, but I never had a personal problem with Jose. Naturally, people assumed that the story would repeat itself. I was determined it wouldn’t. To do so, I focused, like many times during my career, on what I could control: my dedication, professionalism and commitment. Time would prove me right. If you ask me, yes, this is an aspect of my career that I’m very proud of, because, regardless of winning or losing, playing more or less, I didn’t take the easier way. I didn’t give up
2019 09 28 Retrieve
[Juan Mata says Paul Pogba is a complete midfielder] Paul is a very important player for us. He has fantastic qualities: physically, his vision’s very good, his passing’s very good. He’s a complete midfielder. He’s got many things around him, social media life, but when you’re face to face with him, he’s very humble, a very nice guy, he has a good heart. I like him
2019 09 28b Retrieve
[Juan Mata says Harry Maguire is Manchester United captain material] He has experience, his physical presence is important, centre back is a good position to be a commanding personality in the team and he has international experience. He’s come to a big club, really having a chance to make that next step towards to even more. Daniel James also has [made] a very good start of the campaign, and everyone can see how quick he is
[Mata has been impressed by the flying full-back] Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s very, very good in defensive duties, very good in tackling. I’ve never seen any player like him, he’s unbelievable. Even in training you think you’re past him and then he comes and takes the ball straight. He has very long legs! I can only see him improving. Like Anthony Martial, he’s a shy, reserved guy but confident on the pitch
2019 09 29 Retrieve
[Juan Mata believes he made the right decision to join Manchester United almost six years ago] Some people tell me I signed for United at the wrong time but being at this club is very special. Since I was a kid, I saw this club winning. When the opportunity to come to United arrived, I had no doubts. I wanted to feel what it was to be a Manchester United player from inside. It was the moment in which there was a big change in everything and we are still there in that process. It has taken a few years and I’m here those years. It is still a privilege to be here. I wish it was in a time when we were winning Premier Leagues but I want to change what is happening. We are getting closer. There is no way this club is not going to come back to where it should be
[Mata advocated against a change of manager] It is the easy thing to do. Change your manager and it can help change your mindset, but it is never a good sign. It is much better to have a manager for 25 years and win 13 Premier Leagues
2019 10 02 Retrieve
[Midfielder Juan Mata has said he and his team-mates will have to adjust to the surface quickly, as the home side will be more used to playing on it] It’s a completely different game [to Young Boys] but we need to start from the beginning ready for them. They’re [AZ] used to playing in these conditions and from the beginning they will be dangerous. We will train today to try and adapt to the pitch and hopefully after the game we can not say it was an excuse and we’ve won the three points
2019 10 03 Retrieve
[Juan Mata says Manchester United’s long wait for another major trophy will come to an end sooner rather than later] I think that when the club says we’re going to take time and the manager as well, we don’t believe it’s going to be too long. I think this club, since I’ve been born, has always been winning. [Ole] has won here a lot as a player and, for me, personally, I have been here for a few years already and won a few things, but obviously, my aim in my mind is only to win something important with United. I believe that during my time here as a player we can do it. Obviously, we know other teams are doing things well and playing very good football, but I think that winning a trophy with United is possible and that, now, in the final part of my career, is my biggest opportunity
[The 31-year-old, who signed a two-year contract extension at Old Trafford back in June] Well, it is what it is. The rivals are playing good, they’re winning trophies. But, as I said when I renewed my contract here, to be a Manchester United player is something really special and if I can win a trophy here during my time playing it will be incredible and it would be worth the wait, for sure
2019 10 11 Retrieve
[Juan Mata says Anthony Martial may be struggling for form and fitness at Manchester United] I hope it’s really big. He is an incredibly talented player. You can see that since the moment he arrived to the club in his first game against Liverpool. In every training session, the way he treats the ball, the way he takes on people, the way he can win a game by himself.
I love this kind of player with such big talent and I love to play with them. He is a very, very good player. He is still young and hopefully he has an incredible career ahead of him
2019 10 16 Retrieve
[Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata says that Sunday’s clash against Liverpool represents an opportunity for his team-mates to alter the momentum of their season] On Sunday we have a great chance to change the dynamic and we are all very motivated to take the win. We are United, we are playing at home and we will give everything to be able to take the victory that our fans deserve in such a special game
[Meanwhile, the 31-year-old offered his take on the international week, which was most notable for the racist abuse directed at England players by Bulgarian fans] The worst bit from the last few days was what occurred in Bulgaria to various players from England’s national team, players that I know well – some of them team-mates. I will never stop repeating that racism has no place in football, nor in society. It is a shame to have to keep talking about this topic in this day and age. Hopefully in the not-so-distant future terrible occurrences like these won’t happen
[Spain sealing their place at Euro 2020, albeit tinged by a potentially costly injury to a club-mate] The bad news from that game was that David wasn’t able to finish the match due to an injury problem after making some great saves. I hope that it won’t be anything major and he can be back with us soon
2019 10 17 Retrieve
[Mata reveals how Zlatan Ibrahimovic broke Man Utd mould] We’ve now got some players who have come in from the academy, which I think is very good for the camaraderie. And we have some talent. And if they want anything from me they will have any conversation, any comment and sometimes we do it. Because I think we all need support at that age and it’s important they feel comfortable with the people they are surrounded by.
I think there’s always this first reaction that we all had when you join a professional dressing room with players who have been there a long time, you tend to be quiet, and tend to wait and listen and don’t speak a lot. I was like that, and almost every single young player was like that. Probably not Zlatan! Axel Tuanzebe is probably more outspoken
It’s just the way I like football and the way I like Anthony Martial as a player. He can win a game by himself because he has this quality of overtaking players one against one, he’s got quality with the ball. I enjoy playing with these kind of players, which is one-twos, and they make the play better. He’s very good, he’s a very talented player. He’s been unlucky now with injuries. When I say predilection it’s because I like to watch him play, I like to play with him and I like the way he is also and the way he plays, also
[He feels he still has plenty to learn in his current surroundings] That’s what I feel, that’s what I said when I said when I renewed my contract and came here for the first time. To be part of this club is something really special and that’s why I’m here
2019 10 21 Retrieve
[Juan Mata has insisted he shares the pain of Manchester United supporters when their big rivals Liverpool and Manchester City win trophies] I like to watch matches when I have a day off because I love the game and I can appreciate good football, but if I am watching Liverpool or Man City playing, the rivalry they have with my club means a lot to me. You can say it doesn’t mean as much to me as it does to a fan, but it can for sure. Michael Owen clearly gave you a different view on this, but the rivalry that means a lot to the fans of my club also means a lot to me.
For example, I have a passion for my first club Real Oviedo. So, I cannot be happy if they play well and the result has gone against them. Also, I cannot look at their rivals and say I am happy if they are playing good football and achieving more. It is the same now that I am at United. You can see that City and Liverpool are good teams and they play nice football, but I cannot be happy that United are behind them at the moment. Of course not. I understand what it means to the fans to be behind City and Liverpool, and I cannot be happy about this. I prefer to focus on us rather than thinking about our rivals
When I go to a club, it is important for me to get passionately involved. This is why I always try to learn about the history of a club I play for, to understand their rivalries. I always like to go out in the city, to visit historic places and to learn about the fans and what matters to them. This is something I do for myself. First of all, I love football and there are many things I didn’t know about Chelsea’s history, or United’s big rivalries and big games. So, I will always encourage every player in the world to try for one season to learn more about their club and not just be a passenger passing by in history.
Sometimes players come to a club and maybe don’t have a desire to understand what it means to play for them, but I like to understand more, especially when you are playing for a big and historic club like United. What always amazes me when we go away with United for pre-season tours is the size of everything. You know before you get there that it is going to be big, but when you see it first hand it is even bigger. You see it when we go to Ireland or Australia, like we did before this season, the amount of supporters and the passion for the club is just incredible. Every time you see this, it reminds you that you are playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world. Also, that brings responsibility and we have to handle that. There are many people watching our games and not just in Manchester and England, so it means that success is even bigger than it is for some clubs and also disappointment is felt by a lot of people
2019 10 28 Retrieve
[What is Common Goal? Juan Mata’s charitable initiative explained. Among those on board are Italy and Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini, manager Jurgen Klopp and USA and Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan] The fact that we have added another three players to Common Goal in the last 11 days shows the growing potential of this movement. I believe more than ever before that football can change the world. But, just like on the pitch, we need to work together. This is exactly what we’re doing with Common Goal
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