World-class left-footed players are a rare commodity in football so when Juan Mata was looking for inspiration as a young man he was blessed to have Ryan Giggs arrive on his footballing doorstep.
The Valencia winger was an entranced 13-year-old observer when Gigs played for Manchester United at the Mestalla in a 0-0 draw nine years ago, in a campaign when the Spanish club enjoyed a run to the Champions League final.
'That year saw I many games in the Champions League when HectorCuper's Valencia reached the final in Milan, and remember talking a lotwith my friends in class about Giggs,' said Mata.
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'I remember him being left-footed like me and I paid special attention to his movement.
'It's a pity Giggs is not playing, because I would have liked to swap shirts with him.'
Giggs and Rooney are absent from the United squad that has travelled to Spain but Mata said Valencia will not be fooled into thinking the in-form Primera Liga side are in for an easy ride.
Vintage: Ryan Giggs in action against Valencia at Old Trafford in 1999
'They have a certain Berbatov, Chicharito, Nani . and Scholes, another hero from my childhood,' he said.
'It's going to be beautiful game, the kind that forces you to be better player. You dream of playing in such games as a child.
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