Manchester United’s pre-season friendly match against Valencia on Tuesday will be special for Louis van Gaal. That’s because the Dutchman will make his bow as manager of the Red Devils at Old Trafford in the game.
The game will also be ‘special’ for another United personnel: midfielder Juan Mata.
The Spain international joined Valencia in 2007 after failing to break into the Real Madrid first team. What has happened since then is history.
Mata went from strength to strength at the Mestalla and established himself as one of the most promising young players in Spain. Injuries to his compatriot Vicente opened the door for him to play regularly for Los Che, and he took that chance with open arms, cementing his place in the team.
After four years with Valencia, Mata, who can both out wide and more centrally in midfield, earned a £23.5 million move to Premier League giants Chelsea in the summer of 2011.
For the subsequent two years, the Spaniard was the London outfit’s best midfielder, playing important roles in their FA Cup, Europa League and Champions League triumphs in that period.
However, Mata lost his place in the starting line-up under Jose Mourinho last season and left Stamford Bridge for Old Trafford for £37.1 million in January 2014.
And now the Spaniard, who is set to play an important role in United’s revival under manager Van Gaal this season, will face his former club Valencia in a friendly on Tuesday.
The star midfielder is understandably looking forward to the match and took to social networking site Twitter to make the following post:
It will indeed be a ‘special’ game for Mata, who was made into the sensational footballer that he is at Valencia.
How important is Juan Mata to this Manchester United team?