Born 28th April 1988 the Spanish attacking midfielder is known for his creativity, acceleration, speed, versatility and technical ability and has earned critical acclaim for his playing style, which has led to the media, fans and player’s drawing comparisons to both Spanish international and former Valencia team mate David Silva and Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola.
Mata began his football career in Spain, playing for Real Oviedo. In 1997, he joined Real Madrid. He spent three years in the club’s academy progressing through their junior teams. In 2007 he signed for Valencia CF and made an immediate impact. He became an integral part of the club’s midfield, being voted the best young player at the end of his first season and went on to make 174 appearances for the club.
At the start of the 2011-12 season, Mata moved to England signing for Chelsea for a few in the region of £23.5 million. Mata made his debut against Norwich and immediately made an impact by coming on as a substitute to score. Mata has enjoyed a fantastic first season for Chelsea and has drawn several plaudits for his performances. He was a key part to Chelsea’s success in both the Champions League and FA Cup and was awarded when he won the clubs Player of the Year award. Mata made 53 appearances for Chelsea this season scoring 12 goals with 22 assists.
Mata is a Spanish international having represented Spain at all youth levels and senior levels. He scored his first goal for the senior team on 9th September 2009 against Estonia and was part of the 2010 FIFA World Cup winning squad. In 2011 he went back to playing for the under 21 side, captaining the side to win the 2011 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship in Denmark, where he won the golden player award and was part of the team of the tournament. Mata was also a part of Spain’s Euro 2012 winning squad, coming off the bench in the final to score thanks to an assist by Chelsea team mate Fernando Torres. Mata was selected for the Spain squad for the upcoming London 2012 Olympic games and will be hoping to add a gold medal to his already impressive record.
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