What we loved most in Mata's exit interview

Friday 10 June 2022 13:59

Juan Mata gave a farewell interview at Manchester United, as he stepped away from the club he has called home for eight-and-a-half years.

The Spaniard has long been one of our most popular players, having endeared himself to fans with clever, creative playmaking on the field and inspiring humanity off it.

In his final, wide-ranging chat, he spoke to us about arriving at Carrington on a helicopter, his most memorable moments as a Red, and what he thinks about the club's future under Erik ten Hag.

We've picked out some of the best bits from the interview, which you can enjoy reading below...
Mata: I've been so proud to represent United Video

Mata: I've been so proud to represent United

Juan's farewell interview, on the Old Trafford pitch, is an emotional watch...

ARRIVING BY HELICOPTER

My first day felt like it was never going to end! Of course, the helicopter trip... we landed, with my parents, at Carrington. David [De Gea] was waiting for me, with David Moyes. We got to see the training ground. It was a long day because you have to pass all of the medical checks, and sign all of the contracts, but it was an incredible feeling at this stage of my life and my career, and to come in such style. [You can feel] the size of United, and the history that people working at the stadium and training ground had. From Sir Alex Ferguson and all the players and the great moments that they lived. You can feel when you come to this club, and to this town, that people really love United, and this is what I felt from the first moment until now.

HAPPIEST MEMORIES

The Europa League final, in Stockholm, against a very good Ajax team. It was also a tough game, but I think we played quite good that night. It was a European trophy. Then the League Cup final against Southampton after my grandad passed away. I went to Spain with my family and then came back for the game which was very special [to win] of course. Very emotional and very happy memories.

 

“And that day [at Anfield] in general. Winning, scoring the first goal in the first half after a great ball from Ander [Herrera] – with my right foot! And then the bicycle goal. And there was one thing I didn't remember about that game that somebody told me: that we had a penalty, and Wayne [Rooney] didn't score. I could have scored a hat-trick, but I didn't even think about it, because it's Wayne and he had to take it. But it would have been nice to have a hat-trick.

 

There were a couple of free-kicks too. Juventus away, which we ended up winning. Southampton away was a nice one. Watford, here [at Old Trafford]. We won 1-0 with that free-kick and I was wearing the captain's armband which was a very nice game for me. I joke with Bruno [Fernandes] because he's very good at free-kicks, but he still has some way to go to score as many [as me]!"

Mata's spectacular free-kick Video

Mata's spectacular free-kick

Juan Mata's delightful set-piece kickstarted our comeback victory at Juventus in November 2018…

'I'VE BEEN SO PROUD TO REPRESENT THIS CLUB'
 
The [fans] are very special. They have been through very difficult moments. Many good moments also, but lately with some disappointment and not very positive results. But you can feel the love they have for the club; the support they give the players through and through is just unique. I feel for them when we don’t win or don’t play good. And I feel relieved when we win and when we feel like we can make them happy because this is what it’s about.
 
This club is unique for many reasons – the people that work at the club, the history of the club, for many of the players, also for the supporters and the fans that make this stadium, this city, the town of Manchester. They make me feel proud of belonging and representing this club. Manchester is an incredible city. It’s a football city. They show you the support, the love, they care and you can feel it genuinely. It’s a real pleasure to play football in front of them.
Liverpool 1 United 2 Video

Liverpool 1 United 2

22 March 2015: A Juan-derful win on Merseyside thanks to Mata's brilliant brace...

JUAN'S THOUGHTS ON UNITED'S FUTURE

I’m very excited. A new era, with a new manager with his own ideas. A manager who has played brilliant football with Ajax, winning many trophies and playing with style – which I think this club is about. Of course I wish him the very best, nothing else but enjoyment and success for the fans in terms of winning games and trophies. I think it’s exciting times for everyone. A new start and hopefully this time it’s going to be a very successful one and very long-lasting.

There is no other way to try to compete and win than by being all together towards one goal. Over the last eight years while I’ve been here we’ve had some good and bad moments, but I think of the many personalities that we’ve had and we have, the great moments we’ve had together, the difficult moments we’ve got through and I’m proud of those experiences and the fact that I always tried the best I could in every single moment for this club.
Watch every Mata goal Video

Watch every Mata goal

Enjoy all of Juan Mata's 51 goals for United, including a couple you may recall at Anfield...

'MANCHESTER WILL STAY WITH ME'
 
I love Manchester. I love the people of Manchester. I loved my time here, the experience that I had where I lived, around town, the training ground, in the stadium. So even if I am far away from here, I will always bring Manchester with me and I will always come back. It’s been something very, very important, and I will feel it until the very last day of my life. So I am very thankful, I am very proud. I just love this club, and love the people of it and I am bit lost for words on how to express my feeling for Manchester United.

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