Mata believes he still has a long way to go in his career
Juan Mata has revealed in an exclusive interview with Man United official website that he intends to emulate Ryan Giggs by playing at 40 years old.
The Spaniard, who is currently on his sixth season at Old Trafford, is hopeful that his technique and intelligence will help him to extend his career for another ten years or so.
Mata has made over 500 senior appearances for Man United, Chelsea, Valencia and Real Madrid Castilla and the playmaker, now 31, believes that he still has a long way to go in his career.
“I feel good, mentally and physically. And with more experience, you understand the game better so you can position yourself in better situations and you can make better decisions when you have the ball, and when you don’t have the ball, so you can make up for your natural physical progression.
“For me, football is played with the feet but it’s also played with the mind and in your head. I try to be as focused as I can with my brain to make the right decisions, and playing like that I think I can play still for some years and that’s my aim.
“I am enjoying it a lot and I will try to push it as much as I can and I’ll try to catch Giggsy in years! In games, it’s difficult because he’s played over a thousand or something, but in years I can try.”
Mata opened a new restaurant called Tapeo & Wine with his father in an attempt to bring a part of Spain to Manchester.
“Rio Ferdinand has got his restaurant, and I think Gary Neville has a few, said Juan.
“I don’t know what it is, but I think it’s a nice thing to do. This is more of a family thing and my dad’s thing; I come here more to help him and support him or tell them my opinions on what I feel can be done in here. ”
“I am focused on my career, I am focused on football, but I know it’s nice that my dad had this idea. The people who are running it, they are very nice people, which is very important. They come with the passion of feeling like a family and I think that’s very important. So it was my dad’s creation, my dad’s idea, but I am here to support him.”
Now in his sixth season at United, Mata is clearly an adopted Mancunian and a confirmed Anglophile. When he’s asked what lies behind his love for the city and all that it has to offer, he cites one reason in particular.
“I would say the people,” Juan said.
“The people in Manchester are what makes this city special. Obviously, the rivalry between Manchester United and Manchester City is quite big, but every one I find in the street, in the restaurants and everywhere, they are warm and welcoming and open.
“They are very friendly and that’s what I like about Mancunians. Manchester is a very friendly city and it’s very nice to feel that.”