What we loved most in Mata's exit interview
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.
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...
“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.”
“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]!"
“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.