Juan Mata has named the best player he has played alongside - and he doesn't play for Man United

Manchester United v Crystal Palace - Premier League

Juan Mata has had quite the career.

After failing to make the grade at Real Madrid, the Spaniard went on to have successful spells at Valencia and Chelsea, and he is currently a pivotal figure at Manchester United.

He has also represented Spain on 41 occasions, helping his country to triumphs in the 2010 World Cup and at Euro 2012.

Having played for three of the best clubs and having represented the best footballing nation in recent times, Mata has played alongside some remarkable talents.

So when asked who he thinks is the best player he has ever played alongside, it may seem like a tough decision.

In his 11 years as a professional, the 29-year-old has played alongside the likes of David Silva, David Villa, Fernando Torres, Eden Hazard, Frank Lampard, Xavi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Those are just a few of the world-class players that have lined up on the same team as Mata, but the Spaniard did not think that any of them were the best he has played alongside.

Instead, the tricky attacking midfielder chose Andres Iniesta as the best player he played with.

Speaking to The Guardian, per Joe.co.uk, Mata explained his decision, and also compared the Barcelona midfielder to Zinedine Zidane. 

International Champions Cup 2015 - Manchester United v FC Barcelona

He said: "If I consider the best footballer I played with, I look at someone that was not particularly quick, strong or tall. Iniesta.

"When we played for Spain he always passes the ball to you in the right moment. He always makes you better.

"It was the same with Zidane. His individual qualities were incredible.

"When I was in Real Madrid reserves I used to train with Zidane, Ronaldo, Beckham, Raul. All great players but Zidane made everyone look better."

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To be honest, you cannot really argue with his decision.

Andres Iniesta has been key component at Barcelona since making his debut in 2002, and he was also a pivotal figure in Spain's dominance between 2008 - 2012.

His creativity and ability to carve up opposition defences is unique, and his presence has provided a countless number of goals for the likes of Lionel Messi.

At 33-years-old, Iniesta may be coming to the end of his career, but when he retires he will go down as one of the best midfielders of his generation.

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