Juan Mata has admitted returning to Stamford Bridge will always be “special” as Manchester United travel to Chelsea on Sunday.
The midfielder enjoyed two-and-a-half seasons as a Chelsea player and will make his second appearance at the Blues’ stadium since signing for United in January 2014.
In his blog, Mata also looked ahead to Tuesday’s game against Stoke, reviewed Barcelona and Real Madrid’s weekend wins and paid respect to Javi Martinez, who recently picked up another knee injury.
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Mata was on the receiving end of a 1-0 defeat on his first return to Chelsea and will be keen to ensure he doesn’t leave London without a point again.
He said: “We will close the week with a special game for me… Going back to Stamford Bridge brings me many and good memories.
“Although I already played there last season, it’s always special to be back to a stadium where I played so many games during my first few years in England, and in front of a club and a crowd to whom I will always be grateful.
“Obviously, having said that, my only goal is to win.”
Mata was voted Chelsea’s Player of the Year in his two full seasons at the club but was sold by Jose Mourinho due to his defensive deficiencies.
Current manager Louis van Gaal has also expressed frustration at Mata, subbing him off against Sheffield United last month because he refused to stick to the right wing.
Mata has seen his playing time reduced, coming off the bench in each of United’s last three league games, but a goal against Derby County in the FA Cup fourth-round on Saturday will do his chances of regaining a starting spot no harm.
The former Valencia man revealed he has been listening to David Bowie’s music since the singer passed away on January 10.
He said: “The month was marked by the sad news of David Bowie’s passing. In the last few days I have been revising some of his works.
“I think ‘Space Oddity’ is a fantastic song, and ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars’ is a great album.”
It may seem weird to learn that Mata is a huge Bowie fan but then again, he is a Premier League football player who regularly updates a blog, so it’s perhaps not that surprising.