The just cause behind Juan Mata's autobiography
Manchester United forward Juan Mata’s autobiography ‘Suddenly A Footballer’ is available from today and the Spaniard has given us a series of extracts from the book.
The 31-year-ol, who is donating 99 per cent of the proceeds to the Common Goal cause, has revealed what inspired him to set up the charity in 2017.
In this snippet of the book, Juan reflects on one of the most famous nights from his playing career and how it had a profound effect on his thinking.
He is referring to an evening in Munich seven years ago, when he won the UEFA Champions League trophy with his former club Chelsea and a group of team-mates from around the world.
Mata states that the unity he feels with his team-mates, at any club, makes him believe that football can come together for a ‘common goal’…
"It is undoubtedly one of the closest causes to my heart, and it is a great opportunity to put the platform I enjoy as a player at the service of something I believe in, and which – I hope – will last long after the name ‘Mata’ has disappeared from a teamsheet.
"It gives a deeper meaning to what being a professional football player is. That’s why on August 4, 2017, I launched something that I, with the assistance of others within the world of football, hoped would help change the world, even if only in some small way.
"After we scored that equaliser: I just knew. When we went to penalty kicks: I still knew. When Didier Drogba stepped up to take the final penalty, I was sure he was going to score. I think the expression on his face after the ball went in said everything. He didn’t know whether to cry or laugh. He was overwhelmed, like we all were. And as soon as the craziness died down — I immediately thought of my family.
"Everyone was there in the crowd that night: my dad, mum, grandparents, friends. I knew the penalties must have been stressful for them – especially my poor grandmother.
"Later on, someone told me that she had been so nervous that she actually had to hide in the bathroom towards the end of the match. But it was in this exact moment, when we were celebrating, when I looked around at my team-mates, and I saw something truly beautiful, and which football is one of very few things to offer.
"We had a keeper from the Czech Republic, a defender from Serbia, and another from Brazil, midfielders from Ghana, Nigeria, Portugal, Spain and England; and, of course, one unique striker from the Côte D’Ivoire.
"We came from all over the world, our backgrounds had little in common, and we spoke many different languages. Some had grown up in countries ravaged by war, some had grown up in poverty, others, like me, in peace and relative comfort; but there we were, all standing together in Germany, as the new champions of Europe.
"The way we had come together from all around the world to work for a common goal was something that struck me. What about using that unique bond which football can create between strangers to change the world for the better?"
HOW TO READ MORE FROM JUAN
Mata is proud to support Common Goal, which aims to unite the global football community in tackling the greatest social challenges of our time.
He is giving 99 per cent of his proceeds from this book to this cause. Why 99 per cent? Read the book to find out.