Sunday, July 31, 2011
Juan Mata is the player who are reportedly getting closer to sign for Arsenal. However many of the fans are not so familiar with the player and the history of the player. So we bring to you some information for you to know Juan Mata better.
After a youth career that took in stops at Oviedo and Real Madrid, winger Juan Mata signed with Valencia in 2007. The 23-year-old has scored 33 goals in 129 appearances for the club, adding four more in 11 appearances for the Spanish senior side.
Despite owning World Cup medals, Mata and Spain teammate Javi Martinez were both part of Spain's Under-21 side that beat Switzerland 2-0 in the final in Denmark on Saturday to clinch a unique double. According to Uefa, no player has ever won a World Cup and then an Under-21 championship.
At 5' 7" Mata won't muscle anyone off the ball but relies on speed to beat opponents and appears to have modeled his game after that of Manchester United midfielder Ryan Giggs, who he has said was a hero in his youth. Indeed, it has been suggested that he would be a perfect replacement for the Welshman at Old Trafford though Liverpool and Manchester rivals City may still have something to say about that.
By way of an introduction, here are five factoids (descriptions doubtless featuring varying degrees of accuracy) about Mata:
- "Thoughtful and softly spoken, the young Spaniard is regarded as one of the country's finest prospects. Mata represents Spain's new generation ...
"The Valencia number 10, who predominantly plays on the left wing for club and country, started out in Real Madrid's cantera or youth system, after joining as a 15-year-old from Real Oviedo, the former club of his father, Juan Mata Senior, who was also a footballer and now acts as his agent. It was the disappointment of being released that made Mata eager to prove that he was a footballer capable of playing at the highest level. Being let go didn't surprise him, given the importance Real Madrid placed on superstar signings at the turn of the century rather than looking to promote players from their youth ranks." (Four Four Two)
- "The price may be a little steep but Mata is worth it. The son of a soccer player, he joined Real Oviedo at 12 and Real Madrid at 15. He won the European U-19 Championships with Spain in 2006 and was second top scorer, named Player of the Tournament. The Real Madrid Castilla side he joined in Spain's Second Division included Jordi Codina, Miguel Torres, Sergio Sánchez, Javi García, Estéban Granero, Rubén de la Red (who has been forced to retire with heart trouble), Adrián, and Álvaro Negredo. All of them are First Division players, but only one of those is still at Madrid -- and Esteban Granero returned to the club after a spell at Getafe. Opportunities were limited. So Mata, too, moved on - forcing an exit to join Valencia at 19...
"Fast, skillful, and creative -- dangerous heading up the left wing or inside from the right, dashing from deeper beyond the front two - he has an impeccable touch and swift, precise passing. As he has shown at the European U-21 championships, he can also take a more central, playmaker's role." (Sports Illustrated)
- "You can't help but be impressed by the technical ability of Juan Mata but his durability is also to be noted. For such a small player he rides challenges well is robust enough to keep possession and has pace to get out of trouble.
"He emerged from the shadows of David Villa and David Silva at Valencia when Ronald Koeman put trust in him and gave him the platform to perform. Koeman deserved more credit but didn't last long at Valencia.
"Yet now Mata looks set to follow Silva and Villa out the door. He is being valued at around £21m but looks to be worth it." (Daily Mail)
- "He didn't just excel on the pitch in Madrid, either. While at the club Mata studied journalism at the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid. Presumably this makes him that rare player who can make the headlines on the pitch - and then write them up himself afterwards." (Daily Mirror)
- "He is a clever player who possesses great pace, intelligence and has a good goalscoring ability." (MTN Football)
In his own words:
Mata was 13 when he watched Giggs play in a Champions League game at the Mestalla that ended in a 0-0 draw (the Spanish club reached the Champions League final in 2001, losing to Bayern Munich in Milan)
"That year saw I many games in the Champions League when Hector Cuper's Valencia reached the final in Milan, and remember talking a lot with my friends in class about Giggs," said Mata. "I remember him being left-footed like me and I paid special attention to his movement." (AS via Goal.com)
"I like Nani a lot, Chicharito, who I have played against with Spain. Dimitar Berbatov has a lot of class. Like Giggs, Paul Scholes is one of the greats of Man United's history. He is very complete: he can push up and play behind the strikers scoring a lot of goals, he has a great shot; he can sit deeper and play, he has superb technique and vision and passes brilliantly. I like him a lot. He's one of the best there has been." (The Guardian)
*credit to http://www.fanhouse.co.uk