Is Mata going to retire?

Saturday 04 May 2024 14:00

Juan Mata has insisted he has no plans to retire from top-level football this summer.

The former Manchester United favourite has been in San Diego, promoting the Reds' pre-season fixture against Real Betis on 31 July at the Snapdragon Stadium.

In an exclusive interview with MUTV's Sam Homewood, the 36-year-old spoke of his desire to play on, after leaving J-League club Vissel Kobe.

"It's been great, to be honest," he said of life post-United. "First Istanbul, Turkey, playing for Galatasaray and getting to know a different culture, different country, winning the league.

"So that was a good feeling. And, afterwards, Japan, which is an incredible country. I've learned so much from the Japanese culture and, even though it was short, it was only four or five months, we also won the league.

"So that was cool and it's been great, to be honest. And now, we're here, in San Diego. I'm still thinking where I'm going to play next. I want to keep playing. I want to keep enjoying the game."

Explaining his decision to seek a fresh challenge, Mata is keen to find an opportunity to prolong his stellar career at one last club.

"I mean I still feel enjoyment and passion for the game," he said. "So I feel good physically, and I feel good mentally, but I want to make this next step, which is probably the last one, a meaningful step. Not just playing whatever, just for the sake of playing. I want to play in a place that motivates me, inspires me - on and off the pitch.

"So I'm on that journey, waiting, hearing, thinking and hoping I'm making the right decision but still playing. I mean I love the game and I think it's a game that, until you don't enjoy it, or you feel an injury or something like that, touch wood, you cannot play anymore.

Juan Mata: Once a Red, always a Red Video

Juan Mata: Once a Red, always a Red

In San Diego to promote our tour game there, Juan Mata shares his future plans, views on United and love for our fans…

"As long as you enjoy it, you should keep doing it because it's the best job in the world," he admitted.

Mata won the Emirates FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League during his time at Old Trafford. He was part of the Spain squad that lifted the World Cup in 2010 and European Championship two years later.

Tickets are available for the San Diego clash against Real Betis on 31 July. Click here to buy yours.