Juan Mata was put on a helicopter to save Manchester United’s sad season under David Moyes. That was 2013-14 and the Spaniard was brought in from Chelsea for £37.1 million. Eight seasons down the line, as the 34-year-old bids adieu following the expiry of his contract, the club says ‘gracias’.
Mata’s time at United coincided with the club’s sharp decline on the pitch. But he will always have those goals at Anfield apart from winning the FA Cup, League Cup and the Europa League.
One of the nicest men in football, a player with a degree, Mata’s charity work reached India even. Through the Common Goal project, he tried to make lives better for the youngsters in Mumbai slums. He also invited some of them to a game at Old Trafford.
He went on to play 285 games, scoring 51 goals and winning four trophies.
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— Manchester United (@ManUtd) June 2, 2022
He made his final appearance in our last fixture of the 2021/22 season, away to Crystal Palace on May 22.
Mata’s first trophy at Old Trafford was the 2016 FA Cup under Louis van Gaal, while he also helped the side to the Europa League and League Cup under Jose Mourinho the following season.
In a statement confirming his departure, United said: “Thank you for dedicating eight years of your career to United, Juan. Everyone at the club wishes you all the best for the future.”
The Spaniard will exit the club along with Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard, who United announced would also be leaving at the end of their contracts on Wednesday.