A player of Juan Mata's ability could be forgiven for thinking he has one of the best left foots in the business, but he's insisted he hasn't even got the best left foot at Manchester United.
Renowned for his expert passing, the Spanish maestro seems to have a wand at his disposal, but when he joined United he met the real magician.
Few players get the chance to play with their heroes, but Mata done exactly that when he linked up with Ryan Giggs at Old Trafford.
He told The Daily Mail: "I told him when I arrived that he had been my hero growing up. He was the player I watched most closely as a kid. "I loved the way he controlled the ball and the touch he had. He was a pure winger, left-footed, right out on the touchline. "He was fast, unplayable in a one-on-one situation, and he scored goals. Now destiny has made him my team-mate and my manager"Mata, who was a club-record signing when he joined from Chelsea in January, also spoke about how Giggs jokingly expressed a slight resentment towards him when he arrived at Old Trafford.The Spain international said: "He said to me, “I’m really happy you’re here. But I’m a
bit sad too because now I’ve only got the second best left foot at the club.” I told him that was impossible."
As well as both possessing a deadly left foot, Giggs and Mata are both Champions League winners, but following a poor season United will not be competing alongside Europe's elite in 2014/15.
Despite the obvious disappointment, Mata believes their Champions League absence could help United return to the top of the league next time round, he said: It
can definitely be an advantage in the league.
"Of course, I would rather be playing in the Champions League, but if we take Liverpool as the example — you have a team who have fought all the way to the finish without having played in the Champions League."
Before he can look ahead to his first full season in a red shirt Mata may have a World Cup to look forward to.
Having been part of Spain's first triumph in 2010 he'll be desperate to help Vicente del Bosque's team retain their crown in Brazil.
Mata only made one substitute appearance four years ago, and he may be condemned to playing a minor part again having failed to reach the high standards set in his first two seasons in the Premier League.
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