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Juan Mata: Andreas Iniesta is the best I’ve ever played with

by Marwan Harraz

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Manchester United’s Juan Mata has complimented his fellow Spaniard for being the best he’s ever played with in his career.

Mata has represented the Red Devils, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Valencia as well as the different stages of Spain’s international set up but has pin-pointed Andreas Iniesta as his best.

Iniesta has spent his whole career playing for Barcelona, heralded as a one club footballer and currently captains the famous side.

He’s been at the centre of most of the club’s recent success as well as Spain’s trophy haul, leaving many to cite him as a footballing legend.

Known for his passing, vision and dribbling, the veteran midfielder is starting to come towards the end of his career.

Juan Mata told The Guardian: “If I consider the best footballer I played with, I look at someone that was not particularly quick, strong or tall. Iniesta.

“When we played for Spain he always passes the ball to you in the right moment. He always makes you better.

“It was the same with Zidane. His individual qualities were incredible. When I was in Real Madrid reserves I used to train with Zidane, Ronaldo, Beckham, Raul. All great players but Zidane made everyone look better.”

Mata has had a decent start to the season with Manchester United, playing as consistently as he’s ever done.

The Spaniard often features in similar positions to Iniesta who once playing in attacking midfield and occasionally on the flanks as Juan does now for United.

Andreas now mostly plies his trade in a deeper position as his pace drops with age but is perhaps just as influential on a Barcelona team who are firing this season.

Mata may also consider dropping deeper into midfield later on in his career in order to elongate his time as a footballer.

The former Chelsea man is also similar in stature to Iniesta and isn’t particularly strong or fast either but both players have carved out names for themselves amongst Europe’s elite.

Juan though may have some catching up to do in terms of trophies won but does have a respectable haul of his own. Fans will hope he can add many more to his collection during his time at Old Trafford.

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