Juan Mata has revealed that he was honouring the wishes of the children from the Oscar Foundation in his celebration for his second goal during Manchester United’s 2-2 draw with Leicester City.
The Spaniard visited Mumbai over the summer and came up with his now ubiquitous project, Common Goal, whereby footballers donate one per cent of their salary to help disadvantaged children have access to sport.
And after guiding home a sumptuous free-kick in the second half against Leicester, Mata clearly had the people he met over in India firmly in his mind as he gave a ‘namaste’ greeting to the camera.
Speaking after the game, Mata noted that he was indeed remembering the children he has met through his project at Leicester City.
“It was because when the kids from Oscar Foundation, one of the foundations we work with at Common Goal, came to Old Trafford and came to visit me they asked if I could do this kind of namaste celebration for them,” he said.
“In the first goal I didn’t do it because we needed another, but in the second goal I thought about them and I did it for those kids.”
It is somewhat appropriate that this is my last article before signing off for Christmas. While the west enters its annual bout of pure, unadulterated excess, we should take note of the way Mata, despite his ridiculous wealth, keeps those less fortunate in mind and drives towards doing what he can to help.
I’m not asking you to set-up a multi-million pound project or spend all day helping homeless people. But as you move on to your third helping of roast potatoes, don’t take these fruits for granted. We are part of a whole, and as happiness and togetherness floods your home, remember that such is not the case everywhere. You, in fact, are the minority in this respect.
Keep in mind those who are lonely, those suffering from illness (both mental and physical), those without shelter, and those surrounded by war, famine, and misery.
And don’t forget that Jesse Lingard missed a f*cking open goal.
Merry Christmas everyone!