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Juan Mata is a fine football player and an even finer human being. You do not have to be a Manchester United, Chelsea or Valencia fan to have a place in your heart for Juan Mata.
The Spaniard was an absolute pleasure to see when he was in top form, especially in the highest years of his career at Chelsea, before continuing to conjure up some very special moments through his eight years at Manchester.
Chelsea and Manchester United are not exactly known for capturing the hearts of the neutrals, but Juan Mata is a player that absolutely no one likes. Here are seven reasons why.
Even in this modern era of statistically driven meaning, there are some players that everyone knows you need to see to really appreciate.
Mata may be slowing down now and rarely getting on the track, but when he was in his prime, he was definitely one of them. Other midfielders could have scored more goals or required more assists, but very few gave just as much joy.
We could see his dribble against CSKA in December 2017 all day long.
– UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) December 5, 2017
Are you comparing teammates with … tapas?
If you did not know it already, then Mata owns a tapas bar in the center of Manchester, which is cool enough on its own, but of course it also qualifies him to compare his teammates with different dishes.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is compared to a tenderloin steak, Daley Blind to churros and David De Gea is apparently best described as a fried squid.
Let’s be serious for a moment, shall we? Away from the track, apart from eating tapas, Mata runs his common goal charity, which continues to increase the pace.
The charity asks football players to pledge 1% of their salary to a collective fund that goes to football charities around the world.
Among the players who have committed themselves are Mats Hummels, Giorgio Chiellini and Shinji Kagawa. English players Charlie Daniels, Alfie Mawson and Duncan Watmore are also on board, while UEFA President Alexander Ceferin has also joined the cause.
Such is his willingness to communicate with followers and share his love and insight into the game, Mata shares regular blog posts on his website.
Many footballers are accused of being interrupted by average fans, but that accusation could never be leveled against Mata.
Hi! Here is my latest post. An hour behind: ‘Champions and derby in a crucial week’. https://t.co/L16Fi88CKX
Juan Mata Garcia (@ juanmata8) December 4, 2017
Proves Jose Mourinho wrong
When he moved to Chelsea from Valencia in 2011, Mata was a key player for Chelsea in their cup-double season, with the Spaniard demanding an assist in the Champions League final.
A year later, he assisted Branislav Ivanovic’s winner in the Europa League final, but even that did not convince incoming manager Jose Mourinho.
Mourinho returned to Stamford Bridge and put Mata on the sidelines, leaving him regularly on the bench before his final sale to United in January 2014.
Reunited with Mourinho at Old Trafford, Mata maintained his position as a cornerstone of the United team, consistently delivering excellent performances and bringing in the goods.
Just being so damn cool
Are you a human being at all if you do not just feel like him?
Juan Mata Garcia (@ juanmata8) November 30, 2017
His Instagram is brilliant
We are not quite sure how he manages to find time to be so good at football, run a tapas bar (and eat there regularly if the reports are true), run a charity and still do so much.
To dive into his life (and you should, it’s ingenious), follow him on Instagram. Here is an example of the amazing content on offer.
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