Juan Mata will line up against his former side Valencia less than six weeks after swapping the Mestalla for Stamford Bridge, as his new club Chelsea travel to Spain for their second Group E clash in the UEFA Champions League.
The Spanish star left La Liga for England with the blessing of his friend and former teammate Pablo Hernandez in a deal worth over £20million, and Hernandez admits that it will be a special moment for Mata on Wednesday night.
"For Juan it will be special to return to what was his home for many years," he told The Sun. "But on the pitch there are no friends.
"We have to fight to the death against Chelsea, beat them and then after the game I will wish him the best.
"I speak to him a lot and I am eager to face him in a competition like the Champions League. We know it will be difficult. They are one of the best teams in Europe.
"But we've shown in the past we can win these games and we will go out to do that."
Having spent four successful years in his native Spain, making over 100 appearances and establishing himself as a Valencia first-team regular, Mata is expecting a 'very special' encounter.
"It is going to be a very special and emotional match for me playing so soon after leaving Valencia," confirmed the 23-year-old playmaker. "The fact of the matter is that I was there for four years and had a wonderful time.
"Everything was very positive and I had great team-mates there with whom I still keep in touch. Even though we will be rivals shortly, I am still going to do the best I can."
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