So, Old Trafford has a new star, at the prime age of 25, with his best years ahead of him, yet already Mata boasts an impressive career CV and trophy haul. A former Real Madrid 'B' youngster, Mata's breakthrough came at Valencia, where he emerged as one of La Liga's stand-out performers before Chelsea won the race to sign him.
At Stamford Bridge he produced a string of eye-catching displays – notably against United, enjoying a series of duels with fellow countryman, good friend and Reds goalkeeper David De Gea – and he was voted Chelsea Player of the Year in both full campaigns in west London. These individual awards joined FA Cup, Champions League and Europa League winners' medals in his collection.
At international level, Mata's list of honours is even more impressive. He was among Spain's World Cup and European Championship winners, making one substitute appearance in South Africa 2010 before proving even more influential at Euro 2012 by scoring in the final against Italy. He also captained Spain to European Under-21 Championship glory in 2011 and represented his country at the London 2012 Olympics.
Mata aims to continue that rich run of success at Old Trafford. "At this club I believe you can achieve anything," he says. "I'm still young and have been lucky to win some trophies, but I