Juan Mata has insisted that he remains “100 per cent committed to playing” amid reports that the Manchester United midfielder could retire at the end of the season.
Mata has enjoyed a stellar career at the highest level spanning across the last 16 years, starting out in Real Madrid’s Castilla squad before going on to take in successful spells at Valencia and Chelsea.
The Spain international has been on United’s books since 2014 and has recorded 51 goals and 47 assists in 278 games for the club, but hasn’t been a regular starter for quite some time.
Mata’s current contract is due to expire at the end of June and, although he is unlikely to be offered fresh terms, it has been reported that he is being groomed for a coaching role at Old Trafford.
The midfielder, who turns 34 later this month, has been tipped to hang up his boots at the end of the season, but has now come out to set the record straight on his future.
Mata has played down the notion that he could retire early and put more of his time into the growth of pledge-based charity ‘Common Goal’, which he set up in 2017.
“Of course, I will be involved with Common Goal because that’s something that goes beyond football,” he told United’s official website.
“It’s something that will last for much longer and it will stay there after I stop and many members stop, but my mind is 100 per cent committed to playing.”
Mata on his current role at United
Mata has been restricted to just five appearances in all competitions for the Red Devils in 2021-22, the last of which came from the bench in a Champions League round of 16 defeat to Atletico Madrid on March 15.
Ralf Rangnick has favoured the likes of Fred, Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic in the middle of the park, but Mata still feels he has plenty to offer and hasn’t given up on making a bigger contribution before the season ends.
“I haven’t been playing as much as I would like this season and I really miss it,” said the World Cup winner.
“I’m enjoying training with my team-mates and I really want to show that I can enjoy playing and giving what I can give to the team.
“I miss it and I still have a lot of passion and a lot of will to keep enjoying football.
“This is a dream come true to be a professional football player so I want to play as much as I can and I feel good, to be honest: mentally, physically, I am of course ready to perform, so hopefully soon.”