Saturday, May 4, 2013

Juan Mata

    Name: Juan Mata
    Nationality: Spanish
    Date of Birth: 28/04/1988
    Height: 174 cm
    Weight: 61.0 kg
    Previous Clubs: Valencia, Valencia
    Position: Midfielder

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 outlined his desire to adapt quickly to English football. Yossi Benayoun's anticipated departure 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 in late August.

That positive performance was consistently replicated throughout his first season in English football, with 11 goals notched by the end of March, including a crucial away goal in Naples, a winning penalty against QPR in the FA Cup and a stunning volley against Manchester United in early February.

The mercurial Mata has certainly made himself a fans' favourite, and a switch to a more central role in between the main striker later in the campaign allowed him greater licence to roam and create from a central position. His importance is evident by the fact he missed just one game from December, remaining a constant in the team under both Andre Villas-Boas and Roberto Di Matteo.

He starred in the FA Cup Final against Liverpool, laying on the opening goal for Ramires, and while he missed our first penalty in the Champions League Final shoot-out, he ended his first season in England with two medals and a club Player of the Year award.

After competing in the first few games of the 2012/13 season, Mata was given a two-week rest by Roberto Di Matteo due to his participation in both the European Championships and London Olympics, and it was a decision which was rewarded in style on his return.

After laying on Ashley Cole's winner against Stoke City, Mata then scored four goals in three successive matches, against Wolverhampton Wanderers, Arsenal and FC Nordsjaelland.

Mata is the son of a former professional, Juan, who represented Burgos and Salamanca. Juan Jr began his career in Real Madrid's famed Academy as a striker, but was allowed to move to Valencia in the summer of 2007.

In his first season he gradually played his way into the side, and appeared at Stamford Bridge as a substitute in a Champions League dead rubber. At the end of the season he scored in the Copa Del Rey final, and was voted the club's Young Player of the Year.

After four years at the Mestalla, in which he scored 43 times in 179 appearances, Mata spoke with Andre Villas-Boas and was convinced Stamford Bridge was the place for him despite interest from other clubs.

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.

He was selected as part of Spain's squad for the European Championships in 2012, and while he failed to get any minutes under his belt prior to the final, he ended the competition on a high, coming off the bench to convert a Fernando Torres pass as Spain beat Italy 4-0 to win the tournament.

Mata was also part of the Spain Olympic squad for London 2012, although it was a campaign to forget as one of the pre-tournament favourites suffered an early elimination.

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