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Juan Mata exudes class, intelligence and panache – and not just with a ball at his feet.

The Reds’ no.8 has asserted himself as one of our key performers during his time at Old Trafford, regularly contributing important goals and assists. That includes a stunning scissor kick at Liverpool in March 2015, and his display on Merseyside was nothing short of mesmeric. Performances like these elevated Juan to the status of a fans' favourite.

Mata is an influential performer in any of the three main attacking positions across the pitch behind the lead striker – on either flank or in the no.10 role. A world-class creator and consistent goal-getter, he previously proved his class at Valencia and Chelsea. However, his game is about more than just attacking from deep to score goals. The Spain international has a sweet left foot, wonderful poise and balance, possesses great vision for a killer pass or wicked cross and is a danger from set-pieces.

His creativity sets him apart; few players can match his minutes-per-assist ratio in the division. He was voted Chelsea's Player of the Year in both full campaigns in West London. These individual awards joined FA Cup, Champions League and Europa League winners' medals in his collection. At international level, Mata's list of honours is even more impressive. He was among Spain's World Cup and European Championship winners, making one substitute appearance in South Africa 2010 before proving even more influential at Euro 2012 by scoring in the final against Italy. He also captained Spain to European Under-21 Championship glory in 2011 and represented his country at the 2012 Olympics.

Following his move to Old Trafford from Stamford Bridge in January 2014 – when the Spaniard travelled to the Aon Training Complex by helicopter – Mata scored a crucial equaliser in United’s dramatic extra-time victory over Crystal Palace in the 2016 FA Cup final. He also started the EFL Cup final success against Southampton and Europa League triumph against Ajax in 2017.

Mata’s eye for a pass and knack of chipping in with key goals continued in 2017/18 – his double away to Leicester in December a highlight of his campaign. Those goals capped Juan’s best spell of the season, his displays earning a deserved nomination as the club’s Player of the Month for December, when only the excellence of Jesse Lingard denied him the award. In February, the hugely popular player was frustrated to be involved in the first Video Assisted Refereeing decision in United’s history. His ‘goal’ in the fourth-round FA Cup win at Huddersfield was controversially adjudged offside, despite inconclusive video evidence.

United’s attacking options meant that Mata was part of a regularly rotated forward line-up in the final months of the season, stepping off the bench late on in the FA Cup final. Mata has always been something of a dead-ball expert, but in 2018/19 he scored two vital free-kicks for the Reds – the first of which kickstarted our 3-2 comeback against Newcastle and the second ensured we beat Juventus 2-1 in Turin. Now one of the senior heads in the United dressing room, the Spaniard serves as a model professional for the younger members of our squad.

The widely respected player – who hails from Asturias in north-west Spain – signed a new contract with the club ahead of the 2019/20 campaign. The deal will keep him in M16 until at least June 2021, and also contains an option for a further one-year extension.

The Spaniard made 37 appearances for United in the 2019/20 campaign and made 10 goal contributions (three goals, seven assists). In the Europa League, he was a mainstay, playing all games except for the away trip to Astana in the group stage. Mata's influence was important in our continental run which came to an end in the semifinal against Sevilla.

Our no. 8 had a great start to the 2020/21 campaign. He got on the scoresheet in our away match at Luton Town in the Carabao Cup before scoring his 50th United goal versus Brighton & Hove Albion in the following round. His September performances also landed him the Manchester United Player of the Month award.

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    v Cardiff City (H)

I try to play with the ball – possession, passes, assists – but scoring goals has also been a big part of my career


Juan Mata playing against Istanbul Basaksehir.

Mata's mission statement for Basaksehir rematch video

Group H is on a knife-edge and Juan wants three points to stay on top, as he explains here...

Edinson Cavani and Juan Mata.

Tuesday Briefing: How is Cavani settling in? Article

Revealed: the advice our new South American centre-forward has received from his fellow Spanish-speaker, Juan Mata.

Juan Mata and James Garner.

Mata backs Garner to be a big hit Article

Juan believes United's youngster can become a top-class midfielder if he keeps working hard at Watford.

United Daily title graphic

United Daily: Tuesday's news video

Hear from Juan Mata, U23s coach Neil Wood and United Women's Lucy Staniforth, before watching three epic Nani goals...

What goals mean to Mata Article

Juan Mata gives a fascinating insight into how it feels to score and create goals.

My favourite kit: Juan Mata video

Which former Red inspired Juan's choice when he selected his all-time favourite United jersey?

Juan Mata

Goal of the Day: Mata v Crystal Palace video

Juan Mata’s shot was too hot for Palace keeper Julian Speroni to handle, back in November 2014…

United Daily title graphic

United Daily: Friday's news video

This week's final round-up features Solskjaer, Mata and Hanson, plus all the goals from our U23s' 5-2 win...

Reds' museum to launch online kit exhibition Article

United fans - especially kit aficionados - will love the displays coming soon to a screen near you.

Juan Mata

Goal of the Day: Mata v Man City video

Juan-nil! Our Spanish magician scored a derby winner in the League Cup, on this day in 2016...

Mata frustrated by Mendy's save video

Juan would have loved a goal against his former club, and came close in the first half...

Juan Mata

Which Red best understands Mata? Article

The Spaniard has spoken of his special link-up with a team-mate, ahead of Saturday's match with Chelsea.

Ander Herrera.

'He is a proper Manchester United player' Article

Ander Herrera assesses some of the key men for the Reds and reveals who he is worried about on Tuesday night.

Juan Mata.

Ole explains his selection policy Article

The boss says it is up to his players to grasp their opportunity when picked in the side.

Juan Mata celebrates after scoring a free-kick against Newcastle at Old Trafford

Goal of the Day: Mata v Newcastle video

See how our Spanish magician scored a stunning free-kick against Newcastle, at Old Trafford in 2018...

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