A real veteran of English football, it feels like Juan Mata has been plying his trade on these shores for a very long time indeed.
The Spaniard was a key figure at Chelsea, making 135 appearances for the Blues. After joining Manchester United in January 2014 for £37.1m, the midfielder has continued to be a regular presence in the Premier League.
The 31-year-old has now played well over 200 times for the Red Devils, but his game-time this season has been slightly more limited. He has completed just 303 minutes of football in the top-flight, and may have perhaps been wondering whether he is still a part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side’s long-term plans.
But in an impressive team victory against Partizan Belgrade in the Europa League on Thursday night, Mata produced the kind of performance that under-lined he still has plenty to offer.
As per Sofascore, the ex-Chelsea man completed four of his five attempted dribbles, had 71 touches and two key passes as he helped pull the strings.
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After seeing the £160k-a-week man’s display, United fans took to Twitter to voice their thoughts on their diminutive play-maker.
Many supporters of the Manchester side revealed they felt he brought a sense of control and creativity from the number ten role, with one fan in particular insisting he was in his “prime form”.
Check out some of the reaction of United fans below:
— Jay Hemmings (@jthemmings) 7 November 2019
That’s the best half I’ve seen this season. Mata creater of everything better than lingard and Peirera. #MUFC
— Shubhankar Adam (@AdamShubhankar) 7 November 2019
— Don Vito Cascioferro (@Don_cascioferro) 7 November 2019
— Sapharu Srinivas (@srinivasapharu) 7 November 2019
— ND (@N_4_Nnamdi) 7 November 2019
Mata as been brilliant tonight
— AWB29 (@Awb29Mufc) 7 November 2019
Mata might not have the legs anymore but he’s light years ahead of Pereira and Lingard#mufc
— Man Utd Fans (@United4fans) 7 November 2019
Juan Mata was in his prime form tonight. #MUFC
— Tweeterist (@Tweeterist_) 7 November 2019