Player Profile – Juan Mata

DOB: 28 April 1988

Age 23

Place of birth: Ocón de Villafranca, Spain

Nationality: Spanish

Position Striker

Squad number: 10

Family/Early Days:

His father, also called Juan, was also a footballer. He was a forward who played in the 1980s/early 1990s, and later acted as his son’s agent, becoming FIFA-registered in the process. Mata attended the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, studying journalism. In his spare time, he enjoys playing table-tennis. Juan’s father, Juan Manuel Mata Sr., played for near-by Burgos CF at that time – but was raised from a young age in his father’s hometown of Oviedo, Asturias.

Mata started his football career at Real Oviedo, where his father spent most of his career. He stayed there for three years before joining Real Madrid at age 15. After appearing for their Cadete A team, he swiftly progressed through the junior teams, Juvenil C and finally the Juvenil A. In his last campaign (2005–06) he scored 18 goals in the league and three more in the Copa de Campeones, including the winner in the final againstReal Valladolid, adding another three in the Spanish Juvenil Cup.

Chelsea Career

Mata became the third Spaniard to join Chelsea in 2011, following international team-mate and fellow World Cup-winner Fernando Torres and Oriol Romeu, who arrived from Barcelona earlier in August 2011.Primarily a left-winger, he can also operate down the middle and has outlined his desire to adapt quickly to English football. Yossi Benayoun’s anticipated departure, eventually to Arsenal on loan, freed up his favoured number 10 jersey.He certainly looked at home on his debut, appearing as a substitute against Norwich City and slotting home the final goal in a 3-1 win on August 27, 2011.

Awards/Key Moments

Valencia CF

■ Copa del Rey: 2007–08

■ Supercopa de España: Runner-up 2008
Individual

■ 2011 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship: Bronze Boot (2 goals)

■ 2011 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship: Top Assisting Player

■ 2011 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship: Team of the Tournament
 
Clubs

2006 – 2007 Real Madrid B
2007 – 2011 Valencia
2011 – Current Chelsea

International Career

Juan was a part of the Spain squad that won the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, having made his debut in 2009. He made one appearance as a substitute during the tournament, replacing Fernando Torres. Upon signing for Chelsea he had 12 senior caps, but is also an experienced Under 21 international, and captained Spain to glory at the 2011 European Championships, being voted into the Team of the Tournament.

Quotes from Player

“Fernando got me excited about the thought of coming here. He said it would be good for me here, and that me and him together could be good. I also talked to my family and friends about it as well.”

“It’s a London team, I’m aware that the stadium is very tight, with the fans right on top of you”

“The plan is to win to go further up the table”
 
What the fans say…

@gillybee66 – “A breath of fresh air”

Clare Smith @chelsea4girls

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