Sports

Mata bids Manchester United farewell

Oviri Kelvin, Sports Editor, Abuja

Juan Mata eight years spell at Manchester United has come to an end after the player appreciated the fans for all their support with Erik ten Hag unwilling to include him in his plans for next season.

The attacking midfielder was signed for €43.75m by David Moyes from Chelsea in the 2014 winter transfer window and won the FA Cup and Europa league with Guus Hiddink and Jose Mourinho respectively.

The 34-year-old Spanish international who also won the League Cup under Mourinho, made a total of 285 appearances while he netted 51 for the Red Devils.

Mata, after switching to Manchester United in the second phase of the English top-flight division to bolster David Moyes’s campaign for a Premier League triumph, featured 15 times while netting six goals in the 2013-14 season.

The versatile attacking midfielder, who can also play from the wings, became a prominent figure in the Manchester United squad the following season and the one after, making 33 and 38 Premier League appearances respectively.

Several coaches, permanent or interim, that took turns to manage the squad after David Moyes’ sack on April 22, 2014, made Mata part of their integral plans until German Ralf Rangnick replaced Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to manage the club in the interim.

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With Rangnick as the boss, Mata’s inclusion into the United starting lineup declined and this resulted in the player featuring in a pantry number of 7 times in the entire Premier League season without a goal.

However, with the signing of Ajax coach to revive the Manchester United squad back to glory, Erik ten Hag seems not to be interested in the Spanish player whose contract with Paul Pogba’s come to an end this June and this has instigated the player to bid the club a farewell to acknowledge special moments at Old Trafford.

In the player’s farewell speech at Old Trafford, he said, “From here, from the middle of the pitch at Old Trafford at night, I’m alone.

“Actually, this feels like a dream. I wanted to say thank you very much to all of you for your support over the years and especially during the difficult times that we’ve lived together.

“I will never forget you, thank you very much and all the best from the bottom of my heart. And goodbye,” Mata added.

Meanwhile, Manchester United in a statement confirming the player’s exit, said, “Thank you for dedicating eight years of your career to United, Juan. Everyone at the club wishes you all the best for the future.”

Reportedly, Juan Mata, who is of interest to several Spanish top-flight clubs, could see the versatile midfielder returning to Spain.

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