Juan Mata has turned down an enormous wage-packet offered in the Chinese Super Club to commit to Manchester United until 2019.
The Spaniard’s deal at Old Trafford expires this summer, in 2018, but with a one-year contract extension able to be triggered by the club, Jose Mourinho is expected to use that.
That will keep Mata at the club for another season, having joined in 2014 under David Moyes for a then club-record transfer fee.
Mata was reportedly approached by representatives from the Chinese Super League to discuss moving to the money-fuelled league, but he declined.
It’s unsurprising given Mata’s acceptance that footballers earn far too much. He is a rare footballer in that he publicly speaks out over global inequalities.
Most recently, Mata has co-launched the ‘Common Goal’ project, aiming to encourage footballers to give 1% of their weekly wages to a joint fund to tackle inequality and poverty in the world.
It’s so simple, yet something that no one has ever done. Mata is the first, and others have followed, with fellow World Cup winners joining Mata in donating 1% of their wages.
It’s fantastic that he’ll be remaining at Old Trafford until 2019 if Mourinho does indeed trigger that one-year contract extension. Not only is he a wonderful footballer but a role model for any young fans.
Meanwhile, Mata will accept a less significant role than some others who demand a starting spot. Mata needs to start, but not every game, and will accept a substitute’s role on occasion for the good of the team.
He’s contributed some massive moments since joining, the most special and iconic being his scissor-kick at Anfield to win the North-West derby. That goal will be remembered for generations.
United face Liverpool at Anfield again this Saturday, and Mata will likely start from the bench.