Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata has revealed a list of players who he has taken inspiration from over his playing career. The Spaniard started his career at Real Madrid before moving to Valencia. He was at the Spanish club for four years before moving to the Premier League to join Chelsea. Mata swapped Stamford Bridge for Old Trafford in 2014.
“My dad, my mum, my sister, my family in general. Of course I had players that I looked up to. For example, when I was a kid I remember Pablo Aimar, an Argentinian player. He used to play for Valencia and other teams and he was fantastic. I used to love watching him. [Zinedine] Zidane, Ronaldinho, you know, these very creative attacking players. My family was an inspiration off the pitch and on the pitch those great players. Aimar is one of them for sure. Zidane, Ronaldinho like I said before. I used to love watching Guti also, a midfielder from Real Madrid. And because my dad’s idol was [Diego] Maradona, I remember watching a lot of videos about Maradona on TV. We used to watch them together and of course he was different class. He was an artist on the pitch.”
Mata has lifted both the World Cup and European Championship with Spain and the midfielder also credits international players of his own generation for influencing the way he plays today.The midfielder’s father was also a professional footballer, and speaking to United’s website, Mata said he was one of his main inspirations, along with the rest of his family.