Juan Mata.

Mata on Bruno, black pudding and his future

Monday 06 April 2020 19:00

Fans from all over the world have been sending in questions for beloved Manchester United hero Juan Mata, and the Spaniard recently chatted with MUTV's Stewart Gardner to answer the best of them.

Juan confirmed that he is hoping to stay at United for as long as possible, and discussed numerous other topics, including black pudding, Marcus Rashford's first training session, and potentially ending his career at hometown club Real Oviedo, 
Settle in for a relaxed chat with the nicest man in football...
Stewart Gardner: Let’s get into these questions because, honestly, they’re from all over the world. First of all, this one from Hitesh, who is from the States, who says: 'What’s the first name that comes to your mind with whom you’d dine with at a restaurant when this pandemic is finally over?'
Juan Mata: “The first name that I will have dinner with at my restaurant when this is all over? My parents, my sister and my girlfriend. That’s more than one though, but it’s what I feel."
That’ll do. It’s a good answer. On a similar food note, this one from Graham, who is here in the UK, says: 'Have you ever thought of putting some Manchester cuisine in your restaurant? Let’s say black pudding and patatas bravas.'
“It’s a good consideration. We will have it on the list. I have to speak with the chef, he is the boss, but I’m sure he will like to play with it, so yeah. If we put it in the restaurant, will you come?”
United Hangout: 26 fan questions with Juan Mata Video

United Hangout: 26 fan questions with Juan Mata

Find a quiet spot and spend half an hour with the nicest man in football, Juan Mata, as he answers your questions...

This one is from Tristan, who is here in the UK as well. 'Who is the best young player who you’ve seen come from the youth ranks?' I’m assuming he’s talking about United here. The best who you’ve seen come from the youth ranks.
"Obviously the first one who comes to my mind is Marcus, Marcus Rashford. Everyone knows that he is a special player and I have to admit that in the first training that he did with us in the first team, it was Louis van Gaal that was our manager, and after the training, we did a little game and he was playing on the right side, and, after everything finished, Ander Herrera came to me and said: ‘Do you see this player? How good he is? He will be a player for us.’ He realised straightaway. After one training session, Ander knew that this guy was something special and obviously ,of course after that, he was very determined since the first moment he played with us, scoring very quickly, many goals and, of course, for his country also, so I think he is probably the most special player that has come through in my time here, through the Academy."
Good answer. This one from Frank who is from the States, who says: 'Do you still get nervous or chills before coming out of the tunnel before a match?'
"Yeah, I do. I speak about it in my book, because it doesn’t matter how many games you have played, it doesn’t matter how old you are or how experienced you can be, I think you always feel that tension, that nerves in the tunnel. They disappear as soon as you step on the pitch and you start the game, but before the game is the worst moment in terms of how to handle these nerves and excitement and put them altogether onto the pitch, but I still feel it definitely, yeah."
This one from Mari Carmen who is in Spain, says: 'What is the best moment in your football career, so we’re talking about not just United, the best moment in your football career and the worst, and why?'
"The best one has to be the World Cup that we won in 2010 with Spain. That final when Andrés Iniesta scored the goal we were all checking the time, checking the referee, checking whether he was offside or not and then when the referee blew at the end of the game it was an explosion of happiness and energy and we had made history then, because Spain didn’t win a World Cup before that time, so I think that is what every player dreams about, winning a World Cup for the first time with your country, and so that was the highest probably. Of course the Champions League, the Europa League [too] and I have been lucky enough, but the World Cup stands out."
"And then the worst was probably when I was at Chelsea. I was voted, for two years, Player of the Year, I was playing regularly and I was playing very good and enjoying my football and then the situation changed. I stopped playing as much, my confidence was not as high and that was a challenge in my career that I had to overcome, but I think that it’s normal. I don’t know any player that has a career that is going always good and always right. There are injuries; there are managers that don’t play football that is perfect for your qualities, there are moments in a club that are not going very well, so you have to adapt to these challenges and overcome them and then you will be an even better player."
You mentioned Chelsea there and here is a cheeky one from Daisy from the States. 'Do you miss playing for Chelsea (please say no)?'
"You know I am very happy where I am. I am very, very happy to be playing for Manchester United, to be able to play for this incredible club, playing at Old Trafford every two weeks. I am very grateful for my time at Chelsea. They were two-and-a-half years and they were personally very, very good for me in terms of my development as a player, in terms of my development as a person. It was when I arrived in England and I needed to learn the language, another country, another culture and, in terms of trophies also, but the reality is now that I am at Manchester United and I couldn’t be happier."
This is from Darrell who is in Australia, who says: 'Would you like to see Premier League games played for points in international countries such as Australia?'
"I think this is something that might happen eventually. We have seen it in different sports, we have seen it with some sports played abroad and they are still in competitions. I don’t know if it will happen or not but, because of the way football seems to be going, it might happen sooner rather than later. It will be great for our fans around the world, to be honest. It will be great to see us play live, playing for competitive points. It will be difficult to organise to be honest, and also a little bit unfair for the people that live in the UK that go to every single game. So there is a little bit of a discussion there to speak deeper about it, but I think that it will happen in football. It might happen, yeah."
Mata enjoyed a successful spell at Chelsea before making the move to United.
This one is from South Africa, from Cheslyn. 'Bruno calls you the little magician. Do you have a nickname for him?'
"I just chant his song, which is ‘Bruno, Bruno’ every morning when I see him, so I think he’s happy with my morning welcome. He is a great guy, we have become very close and he's obviously a great player."
It’s amazing the impact, isn’t it? It must be quite hard to come to a new country and a new club, but the impact has been amazing hasn’t it?
"Yeah, he’s done great."
This is from Jo in the UK. 'What feeling do you get when you put on a United shirt?'
"First, I try to remind myself every time how privileged I am, because when you get into a routine and you’ve been playing for six, seven years for Manchester United you can lose perception of the size of the club and where you are because it becomes routine. It is not at all. Every time you put a Manchester United shirt on, in training or especially in games, it is a feeling of pride, it is a feeling of luck and it is a privilege, to be honest, to be representing this club in better or worse games, in better or worse moments, but the actual fact of being a player at this club is something that is incredible. Of course it’s not enough to only put on the shirt. Of course you have to play good and you have to win trophies, and that is my aim and that is our aim, but the feeling I think that stands out is pride."
Mata has already developed a good relationship with Bruno Fernandes (right), on and off the pitch.
This one is from Gary Jenkins in France, who asks: 'Would you like to go into coaching or management when you retire?'
"It’s a difficult question. Some days, yes; some days, no. Some days, yes because I love football - you can train to play in a certain way, you can train to develop players and make them reach their highest level. I like many parts of the game and what happens on the pitch, but on the other side, your life is constantly questioned and the demands are so high because it all depends on whether the ball goes into the goal and you can win, or not. So your ability is judged by results. If you’re a player, you can change the result because you’re in the game and you can do better or worse, but if you’re a manager from the bench, you can pick the team and have an idea but you cannot score the goal. That’s not fair for them sometimes. It’s a very demanding job in terms of the hours you have to put in and the demands and the pressure. But, on the other side, it’s fantastic to see a team play the way you want and the players understand your ideas. So I don’t know, I need to think more about what I want to do after football, but what I want now is to play for many years still because I’m still young. Maybe I’ll apply to work at MUTV!"
You’re welcome, we accept anybody! Eric Murphy in Ireland asked: 'Do you see yourself finishing your career at United, or would you eventually like to go back to Spain?'
"At the moment, I see myself here and playing for as long as I can at the club. As you know, after that, there are players who go to different countries and try a different league or culture in life. I don’t know if I’m going to do that because it depends on the circumstances. If you speak to Michael Carrick maybe he had a different plan but then, from one day to another, he became an assistant manager. So you never know and I prefer to focus on the present or the short-term goals."
On that point, Fran Fuentes in Spain asked: 'Would you fancy coming back to my club, Real Oviedo?'
"That’s my home team, that’s the team that I support in Spain. I know a lot of people there in the club and I am fan myself. At some point, it would be nice because there a quite a few players who have come through the youth ranks at Oviedo, like: Santi Cazorla, Michu - who used to play for Swansea, Adrian Lopez - who used to play at Atletico Madrid, and myself. So it would nice if we could all meet again at Real Oviedo and try to bring the team to the First Division because right now they are in the Second Division. Hopefully they can be in the First Division soon, that would be nice."