Juan Mata

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Juan Mata
Juan Mata.jpg
0Full Name Juan Manuel Mata García
0Date of Birth 28 April 1988
0Place of Birth Burgos, Spain
0Position Midfielder
0Chelsea career 2011 - 2014
0Debut 27 August 2011
0Games (goals) 135 (33)
0Other clubs Valencia
Manchester United

Juan Manuel Mata García (born 28 April 1988 in Burgos, Spain), known as Juan Mata, is a Spanish international who played for Chelsea from 2011 until January 2014. A skilful, creative and intelligent player, Mata began his career with Real Madrid B before moving on to Valencia in 2007. A member of Spain's 2010 World Cup-winning squad, he signed for Chelsea for a reported fee of £23.5m in August 2011. By the end of an impressive debut season he had helped Chelsea to victory in both the FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League, and was voted the club's Player of the Year. He won the award again in his second season at the club, having helped his side to victory the UEFA Europa League. In January 2014 he was sold to Manchester United for £37.1m, at the time a club record for a fee received.


Before Chelsea

Real Madrid

Mata started his youth career at Real Oviedo, before joining Real Madrid at the age of 15. He rose rapidly through the youth ranks, scoring freely for the Madrid club's Juvenil A side. The youngster's dominant form saw him promoted to Real Madrid's B team (Real Madrid Castilla) prior to the 2006-07 season. Though Castilla were relegated from the Segunda División, Mata was one of the standout performers, contributing 9 goals.


With opportunity limited at the Santiago Bernabéu, not least due to Real Madrid's "Galactico" transfer policy, Mata decided to take advantage of a release clause in his contract to sign for Valencia CF for the 2007-08 season. With established first team players Vicente and Miguel Ángel Angulo injured and out of favour respectively, Mata was given a chance by manager Ronald Koeman, and went on to make 33 appearances in all competitions, scoring 9 goals. Four of those goals came in the Copa del Rey, including a strike in the final win against Getafe; the young winger helping his new club to silverware in his debut season, for which Mata was voted best young player by fans and his teammates.

Mata went on to establish himself in the first team, remaining a key player for the following three seasons. In 2008-09 he contributed 11 goals in the league, and his record of 13 league assists was second only to Barcelona's Xavi. Mata helped his side to third in La Liga for the following two seasons, and speculation regarding a move to England grew prior to the 2011-12 season, with Valencia's financial situation remaining difficult despite selling David Villa and David Silva the previous summer.

Having been linked with a number of English clubs, Mata would eventually sign for Chelsea after Valencia agreed a deal on 21 August 2011, for a reported £23.5 million. [1]

Chelsea career


Shortly after he signed for the Blues ahead of the 2011-12 season, Yossi Benayoun offered a grateful Mata his favoured number 10 squad number; the Israeli stating that he himself favoured the number 15, and that it was "just a number". Benayoun departed on loan shortly afterwards. With Chelsea having lacked creativity and guile in attacking positions during the previous season, the Spanish international had clearly been signed to address that shortcoming, and Mata adapted quickly to English football, providing his side with the creative outlet that had been missing. He scored on his debut against Norwich City, sealing a 3-1 victory deep into added time, having come on as a second half substitute for Florent Malouda. He started Chelsea's next match, a 2-1 win at Sunderland, and scored in his UEFA Champions League debut for the club three days later, in a 2-0 home win against Bayer Leverkusen. Mata's creativity swiftly became the key to Chelsea's attacks, as he continued to provide regular assists while chipping in with goals, notably against Arsenal and Wolves, while putting in very impressive performances, including a Man of the Match performance against Newcastle United.

Mata with the UEFA Champions League trophy

In December he faced his old club Valencia in a crucial Champions League match that Chelsea needed to win in order to qualify for the knock-out stages. Mata assisted two Didier Drogba goals in a 3-0 win as Chelsea ultimately progressed as group winners. Mata continued to contribute in the New Year, but results had been mixed at best over the winter and the cups now appeared to be his side's only chances of silverware. Mata scored in both the 3rd and 4th rounds of the FA Cup to help Chelsea progress. Shortly after scoring a stunning goal against Manchester United in the league, he scored his ninth goal of the season against Napoli in the Champions League, though an eventual 3-1 defeat in Naples left the Blues on the brink of elimination.

Following defeat to Napoli and poor league form André Villas-Boas was sacked as manager, with Roberto Di Matteo installed as interim first team coach. The Italian employed Mata in a more central area of the pitch and gave the team new impetus as they sought to salvage the season. The Spaniard remained a key figure, and scored in the third consecutive round of the FA Cup in a replay against Birmingham City, though he also missed a penalty in the same match. He scored his eleventh goal of the season a month later; a last-minute winner against Wigan Athletic after Branislav Ivanović had controversially equalised for the Blues from an offside position. At least as controversial was Mata's next goal for Chelsea, in an FA Cup semi-final against London rivals Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley. The Blues ultimately secured a thumping 5-1 win, but Mata's goal (Chelsea's second of the game) appeared not to have crossed the line, though replays were inconclusive, with at least one angle suggesting that the ball had crossed. Mata also set up two goals as Chelsea reached the final for the fourth time in six years. In the Final the Blues won 2-1 against Liverpool, providing Mata with his first silverware as a Chelsea player. Typically, his contribution had been significant; he set-up Ramires for the opening goal, and was named Man of the Match.

Further glory was to follow for Mata and his side, after they reached the UEFA Champions League final in improbable fashion by beating reigning European Champions Barcelona in the semi-final. In the Final in Munich against Bayern Munich Didier Drogba scored a late equaliser from a Mata corner, and the Spaniard played the full 120 minutes as the match went to penalties. Mata took Chelsea's first kick in the shoot-out, and saw his shot saved by Manuel Neuer, but the Blues ultimately prevailed to win the competition for the first time, capping an incredible debut season in England for Mata, in which he provided the second highest number of assists in the Premier League, scored twelve goals in all competitions and was voted Player of the Year by Chelsea fans in light of his influential displays and key contributions to Chelsea's success.


Mata represented Spain at the 2012 London Olympics as one of three designated overage players, having also been part of Spain's Euro 2012 squad earlier in the summer. His involvement meant that he missed 2012-13 pre-season but returned to the squad in time to play in the 2012 FA Community Shield against Manchester City at Villa Park. He began the season as a mainstay of the first XI, manager Roberto Di Matteo introducing an expansive style with the Spaniard part of an attacking trio behind the striker, along with new signings Oscar and Eden Hazard. He had to wait until late September for his first goal of the season however, the third in a 6-0 hammering of Wolverhampton Wanderers in the League Cup 3rd Round. His second goal of the campaign came just four days later; a free kick against Arsenal that proved to the winner in a 2-1 away victory. He had also provided the assist for Fernando Torres' opener. He scored a brace in a match UEFA Champions League match against Nordsjælland on 2 October 2012, followed by another two-goal contribution in a much more high profile match; a 4-2 win at Tottenham Hotspur. With the hosts having recovered from going a goal down to lead 2-1 as the final quarter of the match approached, Mata turned the game on its head with two goals in three minutes. First he capitalised on a poor William Gallas clearance to slot the ball low past Brad Friedel, before playing a beautifully-angled one-two with Eden Hazard that saw the Spanish international finish calmly after being put through on goal. A late assist for Daniel Sturridge capped his Man of the Match performance.

Mata celebrates after scoring his second goal in a 4-2 win at White Hart Lane
The victory at White Hart Lane was a high point prior to a poor run of form that would eventually see Di Matteo relieved of his duties, including a 3-2 home loss against Manchester United in which Mata scored a free kick. The Spaniard was named Premier League Player of the Month award for October. After Rafael Benítez was installed as interim manager in late November Mata continued to figure prominently, scoring goals in successive games against West Ham United, Nordsjælland again and Sunderland. He also scored for the Blues in their 3-1 FIFA Club World Cup semi-final against Monterrey, though couldn't prevent Chelsea losing in the final.

Mata scored the only goal of the game in a 1-0 win against Norwich City on Boxing Day, and continued to play a central role in the side while chipping in with goals in the opening weeks of the New Year, as Chelsea sought to secure UEFA Champions League football for the following season. Having been nominated for PFA Players' Player of the Year along with Eden Hazard in April, he made a crucial contribution in the Chelsea's Champions League qualification, scoring a late winner at Old Trafford as the Blues beat champions elect Manchester United 1-0. On 14 May Mata provided the corner from which Branislav Ivanović headed an injury time winner in the UEFA Europa League Final. It was Mata's second European trophy in two seasons at the club, having also provided a crucial assist from a corner almost a year earlier in the 2012 UEFA Champions League final. The following Sunday the Spaniard opened the scoring in a 2-1 win against Everton on the final day of the league season, Chelsea securing third place and automatic qualification for the Champions League group stages.

In terms of his personal output Mata's second season in west London had topped his first, with 20 goals in 35 assists in all competitions a considerable improvement on his record of 12+20 in his first season (though he did play in ten more matches), and he had retained his general importance to the team despite no longer being the side's only overtly creative player. His performances were recognised once again by the fans; Mata being voted Chelsea Player of the Year for the second successive season.


Prior to the 2013-14 season former manager José Mourinho returned to Chelsea, leading to speculation that Mata would be considered something of a luxury player to a manager who places a strong emphasis on workrate. In July it was reported that Mourinho was willing to use Mata in deal to bring Wayne Rooney to Stamford Bridge. While Mourinho admitted his interest in the England forward, he rebuffed suggestions that Chelsea would include high profile players as part of the deal, [2] and later insisted that he saw a future for the Spaniard in his plans for his new side. [3] Though he made occasional starts in the opening weeks of the season, he was more often than not named as a substitute, lending credence to the idea that Mourinho didn't see a place for him in his strongest XI. In September the Portuguese effectively confirmed as much, admitting that he saw the creative yet industrious Oscar as his preferred 'number 10', and stating that Mata would have to adapt his game in order to win a regular place in the side. [4]

The Spanish international continued to be in and out of the team, and was often used in less high profile games or competitions, including a League Cup win at Arsenal in which Mata scored his first goal of the season. He made four consecutive league starts in December, but was benched for a return to the Emirates Stadium in the Premier League on 23 December which resulted in a 0-0 draw. On New Year's Day Mata started in an away match against Southampton, but with his side lacking the necessary spark in attack Mourinho made a double change early in the second half, replacing Mata with Oscar and André Schürrle with the ever-improving summer signing Willian in the 53rd minute. Mata was visibly angered at being substituted, but the game was transformed almost immediately; the two substitutes inspiring a 3-0 win in which they both scored. Hazard, Willian and Oscar subsequently consolidated their status as the preferred attacking midfield combination, evidenced by their selection in a 3-1 home win against Manchester United on 19 January; Mata's non-involvement in such a high-profile match leading to further speculation on his future. A few days later credible reports emerged that Manchester United had had a £37m bid for the Spanish international accepted by Chelsea. [5] On Friday 24 January José Mourinho confirmed in a press conference that Mata was set to leave Stamford Bridge and join the defending English champions, who had been enduring a relatively disastrous season under new manager David Moyes.

On 25 January 2014 both clubs confirmed that Mata had joined Manchester United for a fee of £37.1m (€45m). [6] It was a Chelsea club record for a fee received, eclipsing the £24m paid by Real Madrid for Arjen Robben in 2007. It was also the most the Manchester club had ever paid for a player.


See also: List of Juan Mata goals
Season Prem FA Cup League Cup Europe Other Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
2011-12 34 6 7 4 1 0 12 2 0 0 54 12
2012-13 35 12 6 1 5 2 14 4 4 1 64 20
2013-14 13 0 0 0 2 1 2 0 0 0 17 1
Total 82 18 13 5 8 3 28 6 4 1 135 33


A World Cup-winner with Spain in 2010, Mata has also represented his country at U16, U17, U19, U20 and U21 level. He was a key figure in Spain's 2006 UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship, scoring four goals in five matches. Having made his Under-21 debut at the age of 18 in 2007, Mata made his senior international debut in a 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Turkey. He went on to appear in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, in which Spain lost in the semi-finals to the United States.

Mata scored his first goal for Spain on 9 September 2009 in a 3-0 win against Estonia. The victory secured his country's qualification for the 2010 World Cup. Selected for Spain's squad for the tournament the following season, he appeared in one group stage match, replacing future Chelsea teammate Fernando Torres in the second half of a 2-0 win against Honduras. Following victory in the World Cup, and despite continuing to be selected for the senior side, Mata captained Spain's Under-21s to victory in the UEFA European Under-21 Championship the following season. He was included in UEFA's Team of the Tournament and named as the tournament's "Golden Player". He returned to the senior squad ahead of the 2012 European Championships and, having come on as a substitute, scored in the final as Spain beat Italy 4-0 to retain their title. Later that summer he was included in the squad for the 2012 Olympic Games in London as one of three designated overage players, but Spain made a surprise exit in the group stage, having failed to score in any of the three games.

Career honours







Player of the Year
1967: Bonetti | 1968: Cooke | 1969: Webb | 1970: Hollins | 1971: Hollins | 1972: Webb | 1973: Osgood | 1974: Locke
1975: Cooke | 1976: Wilkins | 1977: Wilkins | 1978: Droy | 1979: Langley | 1980: Walker | 1981: Borota | 1982: Fillery
1983: Jones | 1984: Nevin | 1985: Speedie | 1986: Niedzwiecki | 1987: Nevin | 1988: Dorigo | 1989: Roberts
1990: Monkou | 1991: Townsend | 1992: Elliott | 1993: Sinclair | 1994: Clarke | 1995: Johnsen | 1996: Gullit
1997: Hughes | 1998: Wise | 1999: Zola | 2000: Wise | 2001: Terry | 2002: Cudicini | 2003: Zola | 2004: Lampard
2005: Lampard | 2006: Terry | 2007: Essien | 2008: J.Cole | 2009: Lampard | 2010: Drogba | 2011: Čech | 2012: Mata
2013: Mata | 2014: Hazard
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