David de Gea posts emotional tribute to ‘team-mate, friend and family’ Juan Mata after midfielder confirmed his Man United exit, as goalkeeper says he’s filled with ‘happiness’ and wishes him ‘nothing but joy’ in his career
- Man United goalkeeper David De Gea has paid tribute to departing Juan Mata
- Mata made 285 appearances for United after signing from rivals Chelsea in 2014
- The popular Spaniard won three trophies with the Red Devils in his eight years
Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea has paid an emotional tribute to his former team-mate Juan Mata after his departure was confirmed.
Mata, who signed from Chelsea for £37.1million in January 2014, joins Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard in heading out of the exit door at Old Trafford.
The diminutive Spaniard, a fan favourite at United, made 285 appearances for the Red Devils – during that time he won the FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League with the club.
Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea has paid an emotional tribute to Juan Mata
The shot-stopper de Gea has revealed how much he will miss his former team-mate Mata
One of his team-mate and fellow Spaniard de Gea has revealed how much he will miss playing alongside the 34-year-old at Old Trafford, but is delighted to have made a life-long friend.
The shot-stopper posted a statement out to his social media followers, saying: ‘Thought this would be a very difficult one to express into words but when i thought about it more, the main feeling I am left with is happiness.
‘This guy has been a teammate, a friend and is my family. The ultimate professional one of the best players and people you could have grace your life.
The shot-stopper posted a statement out to his social media followers about Juan Mata
‘I’m so thankful to have been on so many journeys with you, happy that our paths crossed, and we shared a dressing room together.
‘I love you my brother, I wish you everything and absolutely nothing but joy and success in your next stage of an unbelievable career.’
Mata posted a video message from the Old Trafford pitch following United’s statement, in which he thanked fans for their support ‘especially during difficult times’.
‘I’m alone. Actually this feels like a dream,’ Mata said. ‘I wanted to say thank you very much to all of you for your support over the years, especially during the difficult times that we lived together.
‘I will never forget you. Thank you very much. All the best from the bottom of my heart, and goodbye.’
United posted a statement saying: ‘Thank you for dedicating eight years of your career to United. Everyone at the club wishes you all the best for the future.’
United released their third lengthy statement in two days to confirm Mata was leaving
A World Cup and European Championship winner with Spain, Mata’s arrival from Premier League rivals Chelsea in the January transfer window in 2014 was met with excitement from supporters.
His first full season at Old Trafford was perhaps most remembered for a superb acrobatic volley in a 2-1 victory away at Liverpool in March 2015 in a game dubbed by United fans as ‘Juanfield’.
Mata claimed his first trophy at United in 2016 as he scored the equaliser in their 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final.
Mata was part of the side that won the League Cup and Europa League in 2017 with de Gea
He was then part of the side that won the League Cup and Europa League in 2017 under Jose Mourinho.
Mata went on to make more than 30 appearances in each of the 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/20 seasons before his role in the side began to diminish.
He played in only 12 games in his final campaign at the club, with his last appearance in a United shirt coming in the 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace on the last day of the season.