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Juan Mata arrives at Old Trafford for a game

Mata reveals his matchday routine

Hi everyone, Today is a special day. There’s a game to play and it takes place at Old Trafford. We are not used to playing on Mondays, so I’d like to tell you what we do on a matchday…

Well, not all the matchdays are the same. First of all, this one is at home, our great stadium, and in the evening. That allows us sometimes to sleep in our homes and meet up in the morning, when we will be absolutely focused on the game. Typically, these days, I try to sleep as much as I can. It’s not always easy, for sure, but it’s good for your body to rest at the end of the week and recharge your batteries right before the adrenaline rush of the competition.

You have a good breakfast (it doesn’t mean necessarily to eat a lot: in my case it’s a coffee, juice, toast and a banana) and you meet up with your team-mates at the hotel to prepare for the game. You may talk about whatever in the morning, but the evening game is in everybody’s minds. Then, we get mentally ready for the game, each of us with our own tricks or routines. After a few hours of rest, we have a pre-game talk at the hotel. 

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At that point, we are already aware that our happiness that day and, in the next few days, will depend on what happens on the pitch. You start to visualise what might happen during the game, without becoming too obsessed though, and three hours before the kick-off, you have the pre-game meal (in my case it’s always brown pasta with grated cheese and chicken breast, a banana and a coffee). Then a shower, another pre-game talk and off to the stadium.

It’s time to go to Old Trafford. Some players are ready quite early because they don’t find any other way to calm their nerves, and some others wait for the very last minute to go down to the hall. I’m the latter. The route to the stadium on the bus is short, and it seems even shorter because your are focused on your thoughts, with different ideas and plays coming to your mind. 

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Once you are at the stadium, the minutes just fly. In the dressing room, each of us have our own routine (in some cases it’s almost a superstition). Then we step onto the pitch to warm up, have a talk in the dressing room, see the fans taking their seats, hear the music through the speakers before the kick-off (by the way, I love the music they play at Old Trafford).

Everything goes by very quickly until the big moment arrives: we gather at the tunnel and we step onto that wonderful place of the Theatre of Dreams. You can hear the people, but you try to stay focused on what you have to do, on trying to have a good start, with intensity, but enjoying it as well.

I hope we can get the three points tonight. Have a nice week. Hugs, Juan.