With the seemingl inevitability that Juan Mata is going to leave Chelsea, I thought I would sum up the greatness he has achieved within his two years at Stamford Bridge to appreciate the good that he has done for the Blues.
When signing for Chelsea in 2011, Mata was a bit of a silent star. Playing well for Valencia in Spain, his name wasn't widely heard of in the Premier League. Until he was brought to Chelsea.
Five days after signing, new team-mate Yossi Benayoun gave up his number 10 shirt so Mata could wear his favourite number when playing and from then on, well, it was amazing. Mata came off the bench to make his debut against Norwich City and in the last minutes of the game he managed to hit the back of the net, the moment where we could all start to see Mata was going to prove a great signing.
He also scored a stoppage-time goal when he made his debut in the Champions League for Chelsea. In his first season, the spaniard made 54 appearances, scoring 12 goals in the process.
The creative genius was showing his stuff and lighting up the Premier League. In England's top division alone, Mata recorded 16 assists for his teammates. Sitting comfortably in the middle of Chelsea's dynamic attacking midfield trio, sometimes (with the right players on the field) known as 'Mazacar', he helped the Blues to their first ever Champions League final victory.
Remembered possibly for missing Chelsea's first penalty, what's more important is Mata is the one who delivered the free-kick that Ivorian Didier Drogba headed into the net to equalise. Not only did Mata win his first Champions League with Chelsea in just his first season, but he also helped them win the FA Cup and was named Man of the Match in the 2-1 victory over Liverpool. Having an impressive first season at Stamford Bridge, Mata was presented with Chelsea's Player of the Season Award.
Who knew that after having such an impactful first season at Chelsea, that this would just spur Mata to continue developing.The midfield maestro just pushed to improve and so he did. In the summer of 2012, Mata was included in the Spain's EURO 2012 squad. He came off the bench and scored a goal barely within a minute in Spain's 4-0 demolition of Italy in the final.
Back to the regular season for Chelsea, he played 10 games more than the season previous. Mata scored 20 goals in 64 appearances during his second season with Chelsea. His Premier League assists tally even increased and he managed a total of 18 assists in the league.
Mata helped Chelsea to be crowned Europa League Champions picking up another European winners medal in the process. His importance to the Chelsea team was shown when he was once again voted Chelsea's Player of the Season. Mata was also nominated for the PFA Premier League Player of the Season and was included in the PFA's Premier League Team of the Year.
Sadly, after his astonishing two seasons with Chelsea, he just hasn't managed to find his place under Jose Mourinho. Hopefully, no matter where he ends up, he will pick up his great ability so we can all be there to watch.
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