Juan Mata: I could have taken the easy road but didn’t

Juan Mata: I could have taken the easy road but didn’t

Manchester United star Juan Mata has insisted he didn’t choose the club because it was going to be an easy career move but rather because he simply wanted to be at the club.

Much has been made of the seemingly multiple stars currently at Old Trafford who don’t want to be there with Paul Pogba often used as an example.

Mata arrived right after Sir Alex Ferguson’s era ended with David Moyes signing him in the January transfer window of that season.

Louis van Gaal then came and converted the talented Spaniard into a playmaking right-winger to a decent effect.

However, Jose Mourinho arrived next and the rumours of Mata being sold immediately took off before anything even happened.

According to the Daily Mail, Mata said: “Even though I could have taken the easy road and thought ‘it is very difficult at this club in this moment and that’s it, I prefer to go somewhere else and take an easier challenge,’ if I had done that, I wouldn’t have been able to forgive myself.

“So I know it’s not the greatest moment of the club but I prefer much more to be suffering these difficult moments hoping that, in the future, we can do something really nice and win and that that victory will overcome all the frustration we might have had.

“Some people tell me I signed for United at the wrong time but being at this club is very special. Since I was a kid, I saw this club winning. When the opportunity to come to United arrived, I had no doubts. I wanted to feel what it was to be a Manchester United player from inside.

“It was the moment in which there was a big change in everything and we are still there in that process. It has taken a few years and I’m here those years. It is still a privilege to be here.

“I wish it was in a time when we were winning Premier Leagues but I want to change what is happening. We are getting closer. There is no way this club is not going to come back to where it should be.

“Hopefully that will be with me because that is what I wish for more than anything else right now in my professional career. But if not, it will happen without me.

“There will be nothing that will make me happier than feeling that. I felt that deep happiness with the supporters by winning an important trophy. I wouldn’t change that for anything.

“If I get it, it would be incredible. If I don’t, I’ll be happy with myself for having tried until I could. I tried my best. Sometimes you don’t get what you hope for but at least I will have fulfilled that promise with myself of trying until I can to see this city celebrating in red.

David de Gea told me about the day they celebrated winning the league in Deansgate and I want to see that.

“I would take that over anything. Maybe that’s me being stubborn. I have people telling me it’s difficult, other clubs are doing well, that I should change clubs and not try the impossible. But what counts is that I will have tried until the end.”

Some would argue that end is sooner rather than later with Mata in the twilight of his career and seemingly struggling with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s method of football.

The former Valencia man isn’t pacy or a particularly direct player and so often appears to be slowing down the tempo.

Solskjaer has shown a preference for Jesse Lingard and Mason Greenwood, both players who have a decent amount of pace and take on their man consistently.

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Freelance football writer and Football Manager enthusiast. Unhealthy obsession with tactics, debates and chasing after a ball with 21 other people.