Juan Mata is about the begin his ninth season at Manchester United after agreeing another year-long extension last week.
The Spaniard reveals that with his contract winding down other clubs had been in contact but it was a no-brainer for him to stay in Manchester, a place he feels at home, once United made him the offer.
Speaking with the club’s official site, Mata reveals how motivated he feels to continue contributing to the club both on and off the field.
I feel really happy, excited, fresh and energised for a new season. I didn’t know it was the ninth season already. Time flies. Of course, I’ve had many good moments at this club, and difficult ones, but yes, I’m staying and I’m very much looking forward for what I hope will be a good season for the team and for myself.
I didn’t have to think about it. Of course, because I was a free agent at the end of my contract and, as is normal in the football world, you receive some calls from different clubs and you think about maybe potential new stages in your career but, on the other hand, the feeling of being at this club and especially because of how last season went, probably the most difficult season in my life, it didn’t feel natural to me to leave that way. Of course, also I’m staying because I still believe I can give so much to the team and I think the club believes the same. I’m very, very hopeful and excited to still win trophies here. It’s very special to be a player at this club and it’s even more special to win trophies and that’s why I’m here and all the players are here.
It’s always nice to feel loved. Everyone likes to feel respected and loved whoever they are. I have great relationships in the dressing room with all of the players. We are friends. I feel at home here. I feel privileged to represent this club.
I’m feeling fresh, mentally and physically, and energised for hopefully a long season ahead and again a season with fans, with Old Trafford supporting us, which is also something we’ve missed over the last couple of months. So I’m very excited.
Looking to the future, Mata insists his desire to be successful is a strong as it’s ever been and that the squad he’s surrounded by, particularly the young players he’s training with at the moment, give him hope for what we can achieve in the season ahead.
Every season [the hunger] resets. I’ve been lucky enough to play many games and win some important things. But it does not matter because the past is the past. You live in now, in the present, and the present is to try to enjoy and to win again. It’s very important for footballers to stay hungry and to stay motivated otherwise you can’t reach your best level. My motivation levels and my will to keep playing football is still in tact.
Last season, it’s true I didn’t play as much as I would have liked, for a variety of reasons. Like I said, it was the most difficult season in my life. Now I’m looking forward to a good season, having more playing time, keep enjoying every single training session and every single game, to keep trying my best for my teammates and everyone at this club. That’s my focus.
We have some very good young players, they’re very nice kids. It’s always nice to be surrounded by players that you see evolving and improving. I hope I can help them in some ways by my behaviour and the way I like to train and play. There are a lot of good players coming through the Academy.
A reason why I stayed is because we have so many good players coming in, we’ve played for some time together, I feel like we can create something special in the near future. That’s my mentality. We are here to try and challenge for and win the best trophies.
When I arrived at this club there were some super class players, with the likes of Wazza, Van Persie, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra. But it’s true over the last years we’ve brought in more quality and high level players. We have a good squad with a mix of young players and players who have been here for a while. We have the hope, ambition and the motivation. Hopefully we can have a good start and build from there.